First World Congress of Business History / 20th Congress of the European Business History Association

Why have a World Business History Congress?

CCB Base
David Zadig

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As previously economic history had emancipated itself from history, so has now business history itself emancipated from economic history.

  1. Business historians have a special perspective, special fields of investigation and special methods, which are distinguished from economic history.
  2. Business history has established itself as an own entity. There are quite a number of journals on business history, they focused on this perspective because it is a special one, apart from others.

Historians of finances and banking established their own circles even earlier.

Much smaller groups of economy-related historians have established their world association decades ago, e.g. historians of technology (ICOHTEC), a “Water History Association”, societies for the history of accounting, medicine, chemistry and so on.


Business historians might welcome a world forum. An own, specialised forum for mainly business history (but not exclusive!) might be attractive.


  1. At the conferences of International Economic History Association (IEHA) business history is just one of 26 fields to be covered.
  2. In many countries business-schools now have more students than departments of economy. Sometimes Business Schools like to employ historians which can include business history, not only economic history.
  3. Today the amount of business historians tend to rise compared to the number of economic historians.
  4. In many countries employment opportunities of economic historians tend to stagnate, while such opportunities up for historians which include the business-perspective tend to go up.
  5. There are a couple of countries where business history is still comparatively weak. There are countries with no national or regional business history organization. A world forum will help colleagues from these countries to demonstrate their research and findings and thus stimulate international exchange.
  6. A World Congress on Business History could perhaps be used to root more deeply, or even to establish business history in institutions and in the minds of people.

Most countries neither have an organization for business history, nor are there regional market-places for contact and exchange for it in, for instance, Latin America or Africa. A world platform for exchange would stimulate the creation of several networks in business history on the level of countries, regions and worldwide. Especially countries which develop of their systems of education and research, as well as their economy, can be supported by our initiative.

There is considerable demand and support for this initiative. Invited by European Business History Association, the three largest organizations in the world for business history, Business History Society of Japan, Business History Conference (of the U.S.A.) and EBHA expressed their desire for a meeting in order to jointly explore the possibilities of establishing a world forum. The initiative is also supported by representatives from Latin America, Australia, and Africa, while for corresponding persons from China and India as well as other important Asian countries is actively searched for.