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A Concise History of Business in Canada.

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Introduction

A Concise History of Business in Canada Through A Concise History of Business in Canada, Peter Baskerville and Graham Taylor successfully highlight three dimensions of Canadian business evolution in a clear and effective manner. By outlining transformations in social, political and business structures, the changing patterns of business organization in Canada are thoroughly analyzed. The particular character of Canadian business arrangements is also revealed through a description of the constraints imposed on private enterprises, as well as the attempt to maintain "national" interests against economic pressures. Finally, the international setting of Canadian business is explored through an analysis of Canada's place and role in the global business environment. The above three dimensions combine together to provide a comprehensive description of the nature of Canadian business. In order to trace the changing patterns of business organization within Canada, the authors explored the influence of significant structural changes in European commercial activities. Chapter two outlines the very early stages of European expansion, providing an in- depth look into forms of business organization that evolved in a halting state of transition from pre-modern to modern capitalist behaviour. In 17th century Europe, the notion of a joint-stock, incorporated company was widely received. This form of enterprise had great capital raising potential based on the purchasing of shares. The corporate business structure was believed to be best suited to the demands of a long-distance colonial-commercial enterprise. ...read more.

Middle

Post activity also became more and more routine and directed from the centre. Individual posts began to carry out specialized functions - some gathered fur, while others acted as shipment points. Labour relations changed dramatically as well. Company policy made it a point to have an equal proportion of mixed-blood, Irish and Scottish workers to weaken the possibility of collective resistance and increase the ease of managerial control. HBC also made use of new technology in the form of steamboats providing the speed and efficiency required to remain in a competitively commercial environment. The HBC's operational strategies were shared by many other smaller enterprises during this time, representing another major change in the pattern of business organization. Companies had now begun to centralize managerial control, divide workers along ethnic lines, and experiment with new transportation technologies in order to increase the effectiveness of business operations. This trend was a dramatic development from the early periods of French chartered companies and represented a significant improvement in the structure and strategies of enterprises in Canada. The second dimension outlined by Baskerville and Taylor builds from the first. The authors admit that many other parts of the capitalist world experienced similar patterns of change and stability in business organization. However, they also go on to describe some of the distinctive features of Canada which have produced a unique configuration of business arrangements. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, chapter twenty indicates that increases in world trade and international direct investment encouraged the US to develop sales and production facilities abroad. By 1960, US investment in Canada exceeded $17 billion and that figure more than doubled over the next ten years. This meant the US dominated ownership in several of Canada's industries, resulting in severe consequences. For example, parent companies restricted branch plants to short production runs for the small domestic market, rendering them unable to achieve economies of scale. Similarly, multinationals did not equip their subsidiaries with research capabilities or state-of-the-art processes and products. Many of the brightest Canadians were also being induced into multinational organizations while Canadian entrepreneurship remained stagnant. These conditions characterize Canada's economic vulnerability on the international scene. The authors then describe how aspects of the first two dimensions interact with these conditions. For instance, as earlier chapters indicate, government intervention and political systems were used as a way of contesting foreign ownership and dominance. However, the globalization of financial, commercial, and industrial markets damaged these attempts. By the early 1980s, there was a resounding push for open markets, free enterprise, and the lessening role of state in economic affairs. Overall, Peter Baskerville and Graham Taylor successfully trace the evolution of Canadian business through three interconnected dimensions. These dimensions provide an insight into the progression of Canada's business activities throughout the years and ultimately explain how internal and external factors have contributed to the role of Canada in the area of business. ...read more.

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