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Savigny Verlagsgesellschaft

Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Germanistische Abteilung

Ed. by Oestmann, Peter / Rückert, Joachim / Haferkamp, Hans-Peter

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Volume 132, Issue 1


VIII. „Gründerkrise“ und „Grosse Depression“. Zur notwendigen Revision einer Geschichtsdeutung

Mathias Schmoeckel
Published Online: 2015-07-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.7767/zrgga-2015-0111

“Founder’s Crisis” and “Great Depression”. The Necessity of a New Historic Approach. Looking out for structural change in the economic order of the German Reich after 1870, the dominant literature hitherto presupposed a more or less dramatic “Great Depression”, which began 1873 and led to fundamental legal and economic changes. There is, however, no valid proof for such a depression. Instead most criteria rather suggest economic stability or even success until the 1890s. Similarly the axiomatic change, described mostly as “organized capitalism” and “State interventionism” or as turn to the social welfare state can hardly be detected in the Wilhelmine legislation. Instead, the belief in economic freedom remained strong, whereas competition was partly put under state control in order to “enhance” it in a moral way. Such measures established more stability and predictability and strengthened the market. The Reich ascertained in all its levels economic success and did not wait for entrepreneurs. And yet the enhanced state activism clung to the inherent liberal heritage, although often in a pragmatic and undogmatic way. This proves a strong path dependency particular of Prussian economic history

Keywords: “Founder’s Crisis”; “Great Depression”; interventionary state; organized capitalism; German liberalism

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Published Online: 2015-07-06

Published in Print: 2015-08-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Germanistische Abteilung, Volume 132, Issue 1, Pages 251–322, ISSN (Online) 2304-4861, ISSN (Print) 0323-4045, DOI: https://doi.org/10.7767/zrgga-2015-0111.

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© 2015 by Böhlau Verlag GmbH & Co.KG.

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