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Wed 18 March
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Thu 19 March
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Fri 20 March
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Sat 21 March
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Wednesday 18 March 2020 08.30 - 10.30
P-1 ECO33x Transnational Social Democracy and European Economic Policy in the 1950s-1960s
Lipsius, 148
Network: Economic History Chair: Susanna Fellman
Organizer: Brian Shaev Discussant: Susanna Fellman
Jacopo Perazzoli : Investigating Social-democratic Purposes and Programmes facing Automation and Technological Progress during the 1950s-1960s
My paper will discuss the connection between Western socialist parties and technological development during the 1950s-1960s. The cases of the British Labour Party (LP), the German Social Democracy (SPD) and the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) will let to launch an examination on socialist perspectives in analysing technological progress – automation ... (Show more)
My paper will discuss the connection between Western socialist parties and technological development during the 1950s-1960s. The cases of the British Labour Party (LP), the German Social Democracy (SPD) and the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) will let to launch an examination on socialist perspectives in analysing technological progress – automation above all – and in conceiving programmes and purposes to manage it. This perspective will allow to catch two different targets: on the one hand, the new pragmatism of socialist and social democratic parties, which was a typical trait of the Postwar's socialist revisionism; on the other, the main importance assumed in socialists' vision by the domestic affairs, instead international topics.
A large historiographical dispute has started to trace Postwar Social Democracy's revisionism. Given logically such historiographical debate, this presentation will firstly explore behaviours and politics of the LP, the SPD, and the PSI on technological development, a process which concerned the whole European Postwar period. Moreover, on the one hand, it will discuss programmes and ideas circulations on the 1950s “technological revolution” and, on the other, agendas settled by socialist and social democratic parties to govern such global phenomena.
CBy considering a very large number of archival documents and, at the same time, very variegated press sources, this paper will adopt a specific methodological approach already used in the most recent and innovative studies in European contemporary political history. It will simultaneously intersect two analytical approaches: the historical comparison and the transnational investigation. This double approach will let me intersect the comparative dimension, which will be extremely useful to investigate parallelism or dissimilarities on the field, and the transnational perspective. (Show less)

Sigfrido Ramirez Perez : The Rise and Fall of the Keynesian Conception of Competition Policy (1962 – 1986)
This contribution analyses the social-democratic interpretation of competition policy and law in the European Communities from the approval of the regulation 17 in 1962 until the first Delors Commission as well as socialist efforts to influence these policies. Social democrats were at the forefront of a Keynesian interpretation of ... (Show more)
This contribution analyses the social-democratic interpretation of competition policy and law in the European Communities from the approval of the regulation 17 in 1962 until the first Delors Commission as well as socialist efforts to influence these policies. Social democrats were at the forefront of a Keynesian interpretation of competition policy. This conception was based on a neo-corporatist approach combined with a politically accountable decision-making involving parliaments and consumers, a preference for anti-monopolistic measures, and a flexible application of state aids. The paper adopts a chronological approach by investigating first the Council regulations in antitrust (block exemptions on vertical restraints) during the period when Pieter Verloren van Themaat was Director General of Competition (1962-1967). It then analyses how the economic crisis of 1973 prompted socialists to promote more flexible European policies towards state aids. It does this by examining the positions that social-democratic governments, particularly in Southern Europe (France, Italy and Spain), adopted in the fields of nationalizations and restructuring. Last but not least, it tackles social-democratic responses to the first debates and proposals for merger control (first regulated in 1989) as a crucial step in the politicization of competition law, which included the presentation of an annual report on competition to the European Parliament. (Show less)

Brian Shaev : “The Economy is Our Destiny”: Socialists and the Birth of European Competition Law, 1950 – 1962
This presentation traces transnational discussions on supranational law on cartel and competition regulation among the political parties that composed the “Socialist Group” of the early European communities. Its source base are national party archives, European community archives, and the records of the Socialist International and the transnational socialist party group ... (Show more)
This presentation traces transnational discussions on supranational law on cartel and competition regulation among the political parties that composed the “Socialist Group” of the early European communities. Its source base are national party archives, European community archives, and the records of the Socialist International and the transnational socialist party group of the European communities. It begins by examining the policies of the national parties in the late 1940s and their responses to the anti-cartel provisions of the Treaty of Paris (1951) that established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The relations between the parties were marked by conflict, as German social democrats supported cartelization in the coal and steel industries while French socialists and Dutch Labor politicians rejected it. Through transnational interaction in the ECSC Common Assembly and in international socialist meetings during the 1950s, the policies of French socialists and German social democrats converged around a permissive policy on cartels under the conditions of strong supranational supervision, publicity of cartel arrangements, and support for state monopolies. The Dutch Labor Party, on the other hand, maintained its anti-cartel position in the supranational sphere while supporting cartelization in its domestic economy. The Treaties of Rome (1957) created an ambiguous yet potentially powerful legal framework that extended supranational cartel law beyond coal and steel to the entire economy. In response, the Socialist Group established a transnational “Cartel and Merger Working Group” that had the mandate to forge a common socialist position. This working group brought together socialist deputies in the European assembly with important national political figures, university economists, and trade union and consumer representatives. Over a five-year period, this transnational socialist group debated concrete proposals for a supranational legal system to regulate competition for the first time in the history of European social democracy. The group codified its position in the 1962 “Programme for Common Action” ratified by a congress of socialist parties of the European Communities. This inter-socialist compromise supported the 1962 EEC directive that laid the legal basis for the community’s competition policy. The analysis explores the ability of socialists to craft common economic positions at the transnational level despite different national interests, the role of external actors and interests in shaping socialist policies on cartels and competition, and the contribution of socialist perspectives to the birth of European competition law. (Show less)

Karin van Leeuwen : Pieter VerLoren van Themaat and Dutch Social Democratic Thinking about Competition Law
This chapter discusses Dutch social-democratic conceptions of cartels, concentrations and competition by examining the career of Pieter VerLoren van Themaat (1916-2004), who as director-general of competition in the newly created European Economic Community between 1958 and 1967 played an important role in the shaping of European competition policy. Before leaving ... (Show more)
This chapter discusses Dutch social-democratic conceptions of cartels, concentrations and competition by examining the career of Pieter VerLoren van Themaat (1916-2004), who as director-general of competition in the newly created European Economic Community between 1958 and 1967 played an important role in the shaping of European competition policy. Before leaving for Brussels, however, VerLoren van Themaat, as an official of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, was closely involved in the development of the new Dutch competition policy emerging under Willem Drees’ Labor-led coalition governments of 1948-1958. Moreover, as one of the few specialists in the field, Verloren van Themaat was central for social-democratic thinking about competition policy during this period. The chapter utilizes archival sources including those of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Dutch Labor Party (PvdA) as well as publications by VerLoren van Themaat and his contemporaries. It begins by discussing general developments in Dutch economic policy, such as the Business Agreements Act of 1935, which provided the context for the ideas and legislation on competition in the 1950s. The new system of economic policy-making that was established in 1950 ‘ordered’ business sectors into organizations where representatives from labor, business and government were to decide collectively on production, wages and prices. And although this system never fully developed, it provided an important context for the Economic Competition Act (Wet Economische Mededinging) enacted in 1956. In Dutch social-democratic thinking, the system of “ordering” figured prominently since the 1930s as the best option for political compromise. In this system, cartels and other agreements were generally perceived positively, unless the “public interest” was harmed. Even when general Keynesian measures started to take over from the more sectoral approach, competition policy in social-democratic circles was still regarded as a means to “order” economic sectors. This conception, however, came under threat, first, by the Economic Competition Act, for which the Calvinist minister of Economic Affairs Jelle Zijlstra, a known supporter of the market economy, took responsibility and, second, by the EEC treaty, which the Dutch parliament hoped would develop into a system more resembling the Dutch abuse system that would grant regulators wide discretion to regulate competition in the public interest. By comparing the role of VerLoren van Themaat – Zijlstra’s right hand in both debates – with social-democratic interventions in parliament and in the Labor-led government during the negotiations of the EEC provisions for competition, this chapter analyses the contribution of a social-democratic milieu (party, trade unions, lawyers and economists) to the development of Dutch and European competition policy and law. (Show less)



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