Local Business Voice: The History of Chambers of Commerce in Britain, Ireland, and Revolutionary America, 1760-2011

Local Business Voice: The History of Chambers of Commerce in Britain, Ireland, and Revolutionary America, 1760-2011

By: Robert J. Bennett (author)Hardback

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Local Business Voice provides the first scholarly and systematic history of the Chambers of Commerce from early historical origins in the eighteenth century up to the present date. Based on new archival information, it provides exhaustive coverage of all UK and Irish chambers, as well as detailed examination of early Chambers in the U.S., including New York, Charleston, and Boston, and early Chambers in Quebec and Jamaica. The book traces the importance of early tax protests and anger as motivating forces through interrelation with the American Revolution. It traces the emergence of service bundles, such commercial arbitration, coffee and reading rooms, and information and consultancy services as critical to the Chambers' unique market position. Some of the services had a unique status as trust goods, exploiting the chambers' USP as high status mutual non-profit organisations. It demonstrates the challenges for the Chambers as independent voluntary bodies in increasing partnerships with governments and competition with rival institutions, and also gives critical overview of key lobbies, such as over the Jay Treaty, tax expansion, the Corn Laws, tariff reform and free trade, municipal socialism, and modern regulatory burdens. There is also extensive analysis of chamber membership and motivation, tracking changes in structure by firm size, sector and corporate and management structures. The growth of small firm membership, and the value of business networks and (in the early chambers) religious adherence, are shown as key mediums for recruitment, and maintaining commitment. A definitive account of all local chambers including data appendices and detailed assessment of their significance, the book will be an enduring resource and foundation for research into the Chambers of Commerce's origins, historical development, and modern position.

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About Author

Bob Bennett is an international expert on small businesses, business associations, and local economic development. Author of many books and research papers, he was commissioned by the national association, British Chambers of Commerce, to provide their development strategy in 1990 - a strategy still being followed. This book develops from his unique knowledge of the Chambers of Commerce and how they relate to local and national business associations, and to government. Professor of Geography at the University of Cambridge, he was previously a professor at the London School of Economics, and has held visiting positions in the USA, Australia, and Europe. He has been advisor to various Parliamentary Committees and organizations in the public and private sectors, and has been particularly influential on small business support policy, and local development initiatives. In 2010 he produced a path breaking history of the first Liverpool chamber of commerce 1774 - c. 1796.


1. Local business voice and the chambers of commerce ; PART 1. ESTABLISHMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ; 2. Historical overview ; 3. Forces of association ; 4. Concept and origins ; 5. Diffusion ; PART 2. STRUCTURAL TENSIONS ; 6. Resources, governance and management ; 7. Recognition and public status ; 8. National voice and local voice ; PART 3. ACTIVITIES ; 9. Early chamber voice ; 10. Voice from the Corn Laws to the twenty first century ; 11. Milieux for discourse and deliberation ; 12. Services ; 13. Partner and contractor to government ; PART 4. MEMBERS ; 14. Members and interests ; 15. Motives for membership ; 16. Dynamics of membership ; PART 5. THEN AND NOW ; 17. Then, now and the future ; ENDMATTER ; References: ; Local chamber histories ; General references ; Appendix A. Archive sources ; Appendix B. Data compilations and alignment ; Appendix C. Population and other data sources

Product Details

  • publication date: 27/10/2011
  • ISBN13: 9780199584734
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 936
  • ID: 9780199584734
  • weight: 1744
  • ISBN10: 0199584737

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