The Rise and Decline of U.S. Merchant Shipping in the Twentieth Century

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Twayne Publishers, 1992 - Business & Economics - 345 pages
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This is the first comprehensive history of a major American industry - an industry intimately linked to such significant forces as foreign competition, industrialization, wartime economics, international relations, government regulation, and unbridled entrepreneurship. The story of merchant shipping is the story of takeover coups by such figures as financier J.P. Morgan, luxury wars that sacrificed quality (especially disastrous in the case of the Titanic), underbidding tactics (such as those wielded by Japan early in this century), congressional legislation that reshuffled the lineup of top firms, bankruptcy scandals that depleted the federal treasury, progress in control and regulation, and, above all, America's sudden and short-lived pre-eminence in international marine commerce.
To provide this richly detailed history of U.S. merchant shipping since 1901 - when Morgan's infamous International Mercantile Marine (IMM) launched America on the high seas of world trade - Rene De La Pedraja has accessed unpublished business records and government archives. His original, in-depth research has resulted in the definitive chronological account of U.S. merchant shipping up to the present, covering the establishment of the Shipping Board in World War I; the decline and rebirth of the American merchant fleet; the rise of shipping in the Gulf, Asia, and the South Pacific; Roosevelt's New Deal for shipping; World War II and the War shipping administration; the decline of the U.S. tanker fleet; the growth of governmental regulatory agencies; the effects of the Cuban revolution; the energy crisis; and, ultimately, the "great shakeout" and the survivors.
De La Pedraja introduces vital yet little-known facts about numerous fascinating individuals and the fast-changing fortunes of such major enterprises as Pacific Mail, United Fruit, American-Hawaiian, Lykes Brothers, Waterman, Moore-McCormack, Delta, McLean, and many others. His observations add new shape and definition to our overall picture of American business history. He explains, for example, why cheap foreign labor and the resulting competition in the marketplace hit the U.S. shipping industry much earlier and harder than it hit the American steel and automobile industries.
This is vital reading for scholars, students, policy-makers and business executives seeking a clearer picture of American business history and a secure grasp of how U.S. industry functions in a competitive and often volatile domestic and international setting.

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The rise and decline of U. S. merchant shipping in the twentieth century

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De la Pedraja offers a comprehensive study of the governmental and private policies that have led to dominance of the shipping lanes by U.S. companies at various times during this century--and to the ... Read full review


The American Challenge
A Merchant Fleet for an Empire
The Shipping Board Era

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