This part covers the activity of ICC from 1945 at the birth of the “Bretton Woods” agreements, especially the GATT, to the mid-1990s when governments created the World Trade Organization. This was the period of ICCs greatest innovation and influence as the global representative of trading businesses. It saw the birth of modern Multi-National Enterprise: firms that account for four-fifths of goods trade and almost all private direct investment whose interests ICC represented throughout the period covered in this part.
My account begins with the creation of the first enduring, non-discriminatory, liberalising trading system. ICC played an active and even prominent role in those efforts. It later consolidated its influence in global economic management, joining a unique and little-publicised consultative forum with the leaders of key UN institutions.
The five decades covered in this part lead to the second ‘globalisation’ of the world economy, beginning in the 1980s. ICC’s members’ investments, management skills and technologies, combined with rapidly rising demand in both rich and middle-income countries created the globe-spanning production networks that are (still) the backbone of modern commerce. ICC’s business services expanded rapidly, too; not only its unique contract arbitration ‘court’ but also its provision of international business standards and infrastructure.
It was a period of restored autonomy (‘decolonization’) in scores of economies; of oil-price hikes, recession, boom, many terrible economic policy choices in large and small economies, and; the emergence of UN institutions that fostered a “North-South” divide on trade, investment and environment policies that ICC deplored. It also saw the emergence of a new and challenging structure of the world economy: one in which the largest trading economies were low- or middle-income economies in Asia and Latin America. It was challenging for the institutions of global governance that had been designed by — and largely for — the rich industrialised economies of the Atlantic basin. It was challenging for ICC whose programs had complemented those institutions.
Finally (for this summary, at least) it was the period of the greatest geographic expansion of ICC’s membership: one obvious reason for the Chamber’s “broader compass”. The dilution of the earlier focus on the “Atlantic World” was necessary and strengthened ICC’s global relevance. But it also challenged the coherence of ICC’s policies and messages. By the end of this period, the competition among business organisations for “CEO buy-in” on global governance programs was beginning to push it toward new forms of collaboration with, especially, the World Economic Forum (“Davos”).
Table of Contents (for this part):
A: Growth to stagflation
Chapter 22: Summary: the world economy after 1945
Chapter 23: Summary: the Bretton Woods ‘catch’
Chapter 24: At the birth of the trade and payments system
Chapter 25: Investment, enterprise, business services
Chapter 26: Development and the ICC’s global mission
Chapter 27: The State and Private Enterprise
Chapter 28: Cold War, Convertibility and European Integration
Chapter 29: Law and commercial practice
Chapter 30: North versus South: the GATT, UNCTAD and ICC
Chapter 31: Bretton Woods blows up
Chapter 32: Oil price rises, stagflation and debt
Chapter 33: The ICC in the mid-1970s
Chapter 34: Business, society, environment
Chapter 35: The Tokyo Round of trade negotiations
Chapter 36: Late 1970s gloom sets in
B: Turmoil and triumph
Chapter 37: Summary: from gloom to boom
Chapter 38: Debt, protection and structural change
Chapter 39: The greatest GATT round and after
Chapter 40: Commodity trade and UNCTAD
Chapter 41: Business enterprise and development
Chapter 42: Codes of Conduct, Self-regulation and CSR
Chapter 43: ICC and the Environment
Chapter 44: Fighting commercial crime
Chapter 45: China re-joins the ICC
Chapter 46: Reinvigorating ICC
Chapter 47: Pierre Vasseur
Chapter 48: Philip Reed
Chapter 49: Walter Hill
Chapter 50: Mohammad Aly Rangoonwala
Chapter 51: Bharat Ram, ICC President