This is a detailed account of the British and German steel industries' performances during three decades that were marked by radical changes in technology, in sources of raw materials and in product markets. Relying on governmental and corporate archives as well as on the contemporary trade literature, Professor Wengenroth has drawn a meticulous picture of how managements in the two countries met strategic problems raised by these changes. The author does not however, merely trace technological developments; rather he uses them as a backdrop for a contribution to the long-running debate on Britain's relative industrial decline in the late nineteenth century. Was this the result of massive entrepreneurial failure or was it merely the by-product of evolutionary changes that bestowed automatic competitive advantage on latecomers such as the Germans? The author argues a detailed case for the latter scenario and, in doing so, makes a major contribution to the debate on the 'Great Depression'.
Table of Contents
1. The technology of late nineteenth-century
2. Expanding into the Slump: the railways as
customers of the new steel industry
3. Surmounting the Slump: the individual
strategies of firms
4. Surmounting the Slump: collective strategies
5. New processes and new markets
6. Efficiency and capacity for innovation.