The Coming of Managerial Capitalism
This second-year elective course explores the historical development of the most important economic actors and institutions—entrepreneurs, corporations, labor unions, and financial markets, as well as relevant government bodies—as the United States became increasingly industrial, urban, and technologically advanced.
The course covers changes in the strategy and structure of institutions, especially corporations, and shifts in the nature of competition between businesses. The development of the workplace and labor movement and the changing role of government in the country’s economy are investigated as well. In addition, the course examines the relation between capital market innovation and economic development and surveys the long-term impact of entrepreneurship, technological change, and market evolution. The history of managerial capitalism in the United States offers students a comparative point of reference for considering business strategy as well as economic and social change across time and national boundaries.
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Entrepreneurship and Global Capitalism
This second-year elective offers a wide-ranging framework for understanding the role of entrepreneurs in shaping global capitalism. Through the eyes of entrepreneurs of the past two centuries, the course explores how global business opportunities have been identified and exploited, and the challenges and opportunities posed by "foreignness" as firms crossed national borders.
It provides cases on entrepreneurs and firms from many countries who were active in pursuits ranging from opium trading and luxury watches to fashion, cinema, finance, and information and communications technologies. The course includes some of the world’s best-known entrepreneurs, as well as some of the most infamous, and shows their roles in the major events of the last century, from Gandhi's struggle for Indian Independence to the nightmare of Nazi Germany. Placing business in a broad political, economic, and cultural context, the course explores the challenging decisions and ethical dilemmas entrepreneurs have faced in countries with repressive regimes and failed states in different historical eras. By reviewing the historical evidence on global entrepreneurship, it provides perspective and a unique learning opportunity for those considering careers both in entrepreneurship and general management.
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Creating the Modern Financial System
This second-year elective offers a vital perspective on finance and the financial system by exploring the historical development of key financial instruments and institutions worldwide. The premise of the course is that students will gain a richer and more intuitive understanding of modern financial markets and organizations by examining where these institutions came from and how they evolved.
It covers seminal financial developments in a diverse set of countries from the 18th century to the present. Some cases highlight the introduction of new financial markets (such as the Dojima futures market in early modern Japan), or the creation of new instruments (such as mortgage-backed securities), while others trace the emergence and maturation of critical financial institutions (including banks and insurance companies). Still others focus on the behavior of financial actors and groups, particularly in the context of financial bubbles and crashes. Because the course highlights the origins of financial markets and instruments as well as the fallout from numerous financial crises, government also looms large as an actor in many of the cases. Although the past is unlikely to repeat itself exactly, business managers who have a strong background in financial history are likely to be better prepared for the full diversity of financial innovations, shocks, and crises that they will face in the future.
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The Doctoral Seminar in Business History
This seminar offers students access to the latest business history research and introduces them to qualitative and quantitative research methodologies employing historical materials. It provides a broad understanding of the main themes in global business history of the last two centuries. Over the course of the Seminar, students also design, research and write a paper that will employ either quantitative analysis of a historical database or qualitative research on primary materials on business history. They are introduced to, and often base their research paper on, the unique historical collections held by the Baker Library.