Doing Comparisons while Competing: The German, British, American, and French Iron and Steel Industries, 1870–1990
Competition, according to Max Weber, is a mode of struggle without conflict or violence. Economic competition in capitalism may be seen as a (mostly) peaceful rivalry among business enterprises striving for financial gain addressed at a third party (clients, customers, the state) whose favor is canvassed. Which role play comparisons within practices of capitalist competition? Which practices of doing comparisons are utilised or even developed while competing with rival firms for the favor of prospective customers or protective services by government? This project will contribute to answering these broader and theoretically relevant questions by analysing comparative practices in the discourses of the German, British, American, and French iron and steel industries over two time periods: 1870s to 1940s, and 1945 to 1990.