The author emphasizes the need for the studies in “meso-economics, ” a new field of the research concerning entrepreneurship. The other-supporting institutional relations which lie between the economic development and entrepreneurship have been discarded by both macro-and micro-economics. But the development of such a business system, or “structural innovation” is considered by the author to be a primary source for economic development. A full text in English of this paper will be published in Tradition, the German journal of business history.
During the 1920' s, the structure of the American automobile market changed from that of a simple growth market to that of a replacement market. An examination of that period has some importance to the business history of the American automobile industry. This article will point out some of the characteristics of the structure of the American automobile industry in the twenties. Model changes were regularized during this period through a transformation of the market structure. Competitiveness in market shares was achieved by big firms through improvements in the efficiency of passenger cars and through the establishment of a demand-sliding schedule. Third, the demand for automobiles was saturated after 1925 and the automobile industry was chronically in a state of oversupply, thus investment was financed exclusively from retained profits. During the twenties, Ford and GM developed contrasting managerial policies. Ford was able to reduce the production costs significantly by a technological rationalization of assembly processes, while GM adopted a decentralized managerial scheme to deal with changes in the market structure. After 1925, GM succeeded in surpassing Ford in the production of automobiles. GM also had a superior system of financial controls, and was ready for an administered pricing system, by means of objective rates of return and standard volumes. Finally, the twenties were a turning point for the American automobile industry. During this period, price competition was severe, preventing the establishment of a monopolistic control. New managerial techniques were adopted to develop advanced marketing and pricing policies geared to perpetual model changes. Thus the twenties may be regarded as preparatory to the oligopolistic era of the thirties.
Prof. D. S. Landes and other American scholars who did pioneering research on French business history studied the reasons for the economic stagnation of France since the turn of the century. They discovered that most of the business enterprises in France were family-owned, small in scale, and managed conservatively. By contrast, Prof. B. Gille and other French business historians emphasized the success of national economic planning since the end of the World War II, and tried to make it clear that the economic development in this period stemmed from various phenomena of the late 19th century : the corporation system, the joint-stock deposit and investment banks, and the technological innovations in the steel industry. For the purpose of clarifying contributions of 19th century entrepreneurs to the economic development in France, French scholars have published two journals, Histoire des Enterprises and Revue d'Histoire de la Siderurgie. The author reviewed the papers appearing in the above two journals, and outlined the development of the banking and the steel-making businesses in France.