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Die Wirtschaftskrise von 1931 als Wendepunkt? Deutschlands Weg vom organisierten zum regulierten Kapitalismus

Die Wirtschaftskrise von 1931 als Wendepunkt? Deutschlands Weg vom organisierten zum regulierten... Abstract The law is meant to intervene where markets are failing. Hence, during a financial crisis, the legislator often develops new regulations - or reforms the existing legal system - in order to induce the actors involved to behave in a certain way. During the 1931 financial crisis, the German government introduced not only general supervision of the banking sector, but also attempted to abolish the major flaws in German Corporate Law. The Emergency Decree of 19th September 1931 installed mandatory and independent audits. It also forbade share buybacks. A first glance at the Emergency Decree may give the impression that the German government’s immediate reaction to the financial crisis was to shift away from the concept of economic self-control to more active state intervention and control. Yet, was it really the 1931 financial crisis that initiated this conceptual shift? In this article, I show that the perception of the economy and its political meaning had already begun to change in the decades preceding the 1931 crisis. After all, the majority of the new regulations had long been common practice or established at least in some of the economic sectors; in some cases, they were even formally enacted laws - albeit laws that were deliberately ignored. No single event changed the underlying values governing economic policies; rather, it was a case of constant “drip of water” that - over time - wears away any stone. Thus, the crisis was less a reason than an occasion. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook de Gruyter

Die Wirtschaftskrise von 1931 als Wendepunkt? Deutschlands Weg vom organisierten zum regulierten Kapitalismus

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by the
ISSN
0075-2800
eISSN
2196-6842
DOI
10.1524/jbwg.2011.52.2.95
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract The law is meant to intervene where markets are failing. Hence, during a financial crisis, the legislator often develops new regulations - or reforms the existing legal system - in order to induce the actors involved to behave in a certain way. During the 1931 financial crisis, the German government introduced not only general supervision of the banking sector, but also attempted to abolish the major flaws in German Corporate Law. The Emergency Decree of 19th September 1931 installed mandatory and independent audits. It also forbade share buybacks. A first glance at the Emergency Decree may give the impression that the German government’s immediate reaction to the financial crisis was to shift away from the concept of economic self-control to more active state intervention and control. Yet, was it really the 1931 financial crisis that initiated this conceptual shift? In this article, I show that the perception of the economy and its political meaning had already begun to change in the decades preceding the 1931 crisis. After all, the majority of the new regulations had long been common practice or established at least in some of the economic sectors; in some cases, they were even formally enacted laws - albeit laws that were deliberately ignored. No single event changed the underlying values governing economic policies; rather, it was a case of constant “drip of water” that - over time - wears away any stone. Thus, the crisis was less a reason than an occasion.

Journal

Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbookde Gruyter

Published: Dec 1, 2011

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