Chapter 4: Ideologues, Entrepreneurs and Explanations
4. Ideologues, Entrepreneurs and Explanations INTRODUCTION As was shown in Chapter 1, the regulation of the railroads constituted the divide between the era of hisses--lire, the era from which the railroads emerged, and the beginning of the era of mass industrial order driven by the state. Under Britain's hegemony, and subject to the rules of the gold standard, labour and capital were free to flow where individuals considered them to be most productive. It was this freedom to move between markets, reflecting high transport costs and limited information, that established the key characteristic of this era, the separation of markets and the movement of capital and labour between them. The widespread use of the motor car, the aircraft, the telegraph and the telephone forged and cemented the links between these disparate markets. However, at the turn of the new century, despite the rising prosperity of the participating states, in the emerging domestic market of the United States, opposition mounted to the intrusion of foreign competition and foreign immigration. Then, in 1914, the open international system, by then fifty years old, gave way to a more restricted and regimented international regime as the erstwhile participants in that open system confronted one another in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time. Moreover, after 1918, during the inter-war years, economies moved off the gold standard and operated behind protective tariffs. Open regimes were clearly not irreversible, as many had hoped; on the contrary, the global market of the mass industrial order became...
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