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Opting for Oil

Opting for Oil
The Political Economy of Technological Change in the West German Industry, 1945–1961


  • Date Published: April 1994
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521451246

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About the Authors
  • This book investigates the causes, course and consequences of the shift in West German chemical technology from a coal to a petroleum basis between 1945 and 1961. It examines the historical underpinnings of the technological culture of the German chemical industry; changing political and economic constraints on technological decision-making in the post-war period; and the actual decision-making process within five individual firms. By addressing a wide variety of broader issues - including the origins and impact of the division of Germany; the effects of the Wirtschaftswunder, or economic miracle; European integration; and the changing role of the West German Federal Republic in the international political order - this book explains how West German industry regained and then retained a competitive position in world markets.

    • The case studies and analysis reveal much about West German industrial success in general, not just the chemical industry
    • First study of post-war West German industry to examine technological change in its political and economic context
    • Looks at the impact on industry of the division of Germany, European integration and the changing role of West Germany in the international order
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… finely crafted … fine achievement in scholarly analysis.' Nature

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 1994
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521451246
    • length: 274 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 161 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Background:
    1. Politics and technological excellence: organic chemicals, 1860–1945:
    2. Western German chemicals in flux, 1945–55
    Part II. Bargaining from Strength: The Political Economy Of Technological Change, 1945–55:
    3. A new agenda, 1949–55: Cold War, changing energy patterns and the development of West German chemical technology
    4. Rejoining the international community: international cooperation and technology transfer, 1951–5
    Part III. Alternative Paths to Plenty: Case Studies from the mid-1950s:
    5. Fifty-fifty with the petroleum multinationals: BASF, Shell, and Rheinische Olefinwerke
    6. Fifty-fifty with the petroleum multinationals: Bayer, British Petroleum, and Erdölchemie
    7. Going it alone: Hoechst
    8. State's interest and technological change: Hüls and cold-rubber technology
    9. End game strategies: the German coal industry and the Fischer–Tropsch process
    Part IV. Consolidating the New Regime, 1957–61:
    10. Petrochemicals triumphant, 1957–61
    11. Conclusion

  • Author

    Raymond G. Stokes, University of Glasgow

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