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Aristotle Onassis was a leading figure in creating the new global tanker business in the second half of the twentieth century. This article examines the first thirty years of his career, before he became renowned worldwide, setting his business in the context of global shipping developments. Onassis is the most famous of the shipping tycoons that transformed maritime business in the post–World War II transitional period. He is among those “new men”—Greek, Norwegian, Danish, American, Japanese, or Hong Kong shipowners—who replaced the old order of the traditional British Empire shipowners. These new pioneers established the global shipping business in the era of American dominance.
Wartime naval builders in the United States constructed the world's largest fleet that defeated the Japanese Imperial Navy, aided the Allied victory during the Battle of the Atlantic, and projected American naval power into all corners of the globe. Many naval combatants were built by highly experienced shipbuilders who possessed advanced design skills and production capabilities that had been years in the making. The present study examines the structures and dynamics of American naval shipbuilding and compares them to their foreign counterparts; it argues that extant capabilities were vital to the success of the U.S. war economy.
As a host country for foreign direct investment, conventional measures suggest that Italy is not a very attractive location. However, based upon a new database of the one hundred largest multinationals in the country, this article shows that foreign firms consistently played a crucial role in Italy's industrial activities throughout the twentieth century. A detailed analysis of investment patterns, distribution across industries, and entry modes reveals that they concentrated their investment in sectors of high technological and scale intensity, such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals, where domestic capabilities and competition remained weak during much of the period.
The stellar growth of Taiwan's personal-computer (PC) industry over the past three decades represents a paradox. Participating in the global production system, local firms in Taiwan grew in association with established firms in the West. Despite their technical know-how, manufacturing prowess, and size, most leading Taiwanese firms did not develop their own capabilities in branding and marketing. A close examination of the historical evolution of the industry reveals that interactions with established companies in the West, in addition to local competition, decisively shaped capability development among latecomer firms. A few firms in Taiwan that eventually joined the ranks of global PC brands had been investing in marketing early, guided by a strategic vision rather than near-term economic calculation.
In this Research Note, Pierre de Longuemar, founder of the Paribas Historical Archives Department, describes the building of their oral history program. Shortly after the Historical Archives Department was begun in 1990, Paribas decided to publish a book on its European roots. Interviews were conducted that proved an effective way of identifying Paribas's main strategic thrust during its postwar modernization. Oral histories were also collected to provide source material on the context of the merger between BNP and Paribas in 2000.