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Stories of a New Beginning: The Economy of the Streets between the Currency Reform and the “Economic Miracle”

  • Malte Zierenberg
Part of the Worlds of Consumption book series (WC)

Abstract

Contrary to what is generally believed, the black markets did not suddenly disappear in the summer of 1948. People continued to be indicted in Berlin for illegal street trading into the early 1950s.1 All the same, the currency reform in East and West did represent the most significant break in the Berlin barter culture since the beginning of the war. With it, economic and currency decisions were made that—at least on the Western side—aimed to break with rationing and the controlled economy. As the restrictive measures were lifted, they gradually marginalized the illegal markets.

Keywords

Price Policy Economic Order Black Market Western Sector Free Market Economy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 8.
    For the following, see Frank Zschaler, “Die Lösung der Währungsfrage in Berlin 1948/49. Weichenstellungen für die Nachkriegsentwicklung der deutschen Hauptstadt,” in Sterben für Berlin? Die Berliner Krisen 1948:1958, ed. Burghard Ciesla, Michael Lemke, and Thomas Lindenberger, 47–58 (Berlin, 2000), as well as idem, Öffentliche Finanzen und Finanzpolitik in Berlin 1945–1961: Eine vergleichende Untersuchung von Ost- und West-Berlin mit Datenanhang 1945–1989 (Berlin, 1995), 15–24. For the developments in West Berlin,Google Scholar
  2. see Michael Wolff, Die Währungsreform in Berlin 1948/49 (Berlin, 1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 15.
    See Wolfgang Benz, Geschichte des Dritten Reiches (Munich, 2000), 190–94.Google Scholar
  4. 24.
    On the history of the radio and its political role in the Soviet zone and in the GDR, see Klaus Arnold and Christoph Classen, eds., Zwischen Pop und Propaganda. Radio in der DDR (Berlin, 2004);Google Scholar
  5. and Christoph Classen, Faschismus und Antifaschismus. Geschichte im Radio der SBZ/DDR 1945–1953 (Cologne, 2004).Google Scholar
  6. 35.
    Quoted in Jörg Roesler, Die Wirtschaft der DDR. Publikation der Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Thüringen (Erfurt, 2002), 7.Google Scholar
  7. 36.
    See André Steiner, Von Plan zu Plan: Eine Wirtschaftsgeschichte der DDR (Munich, 2004), 41.Google Scholar
  8. 38.
    Ina Merkel, Utopie und Bedürfnis: Die Geschichte der Konsumkultur in der DDR (Cologne, 1999), 329. It was possible to have “normal” shopping experiences after 1953 in the flourishing stores of the commission-retail trade.Google Scholar
  9. See Heinz Hoffmann, Der Kommissionshandel im planwirtschaftlichen System der DDR: Eine besondere Eigentums- und Handelsform (Leipzig, 2001). On the displacements in consumer shopping brought about by 1989, see Annett Schultz, “Privathaushalte und Haushalten in Ostdeutschland,” Discussion Paper FS III 97–405, WZB (Berlin, 1997).Google Scholar
  10. 39.
    Merkel, Utopie und Bedürfnis, 88. See also Philipp Heldmann, Herrschaft— Wirtschaft—Anoraks. Konsumpolitik in der DDR der Sechzigerjahre (Göttingen, 2004), as well as Steiner, Plan, 7–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 40.
    Joachim Starbatty, “Die Soziale Marktwirtschaft aus historisch-theoretischer Sicht,” in Entstehung und Entwicklung der Sozialen Marktwirtschaft. Im Auftrag der Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte, ed. Hans Pohl, 7–26 (Wiesbaden, 1986).Google Scholar
  12. 42.
    See Eric Hobsbawm, “Introduction: Inventing Tradition,” in The Invention of Tradition, ed. idem and Terence Ranger, 11–14 (Cambridge, 2003)Google Scholar
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    Irmgard Zündorf, Der Preis der Marktwirtschaft. Staatliche Preispolitik und Lebensstandard in Westdeutschland 1948 bis 1963 (Stuttgart, 2006), 9.Google Scholar
  14. 52.
    Karl Georg Zinn, Soziale Marktwirtschaft. Idee, Entwicklung und Politik der bundesdeutschen Wirtschaftsordnung (Mannheim, 1992), 44.Google Scholar
  15. 53.
    Ludwig Erhard, Gedanken aus fünf Jahrzehnten. Reden und Schriften, ed. Karl Hohmann (Düsseldorf, 1988), 57.Google Scholar
  16. 56.
    Müller-Armack, “Soziale Marktwirtschaft,” Handwörterbuch der Sozialwissenschaften (Stuttgart, 1956), 9:390–92.Google Scholar
  17. 59.
    See Jürgen Niemann, Auftakt zur Demokratie: Der Bundeswahlkampf 1949 zwischen Improvisation und Ideologie (Bochum, 1994).Google Scholar
  18. 60.
    Michael Wildt, Am Beginn der Konsumgesellschaft: Mangelerfahrung, Lebenshaltung, Wohlstandshoffnung in Westdeutschland in den fünfziger Jahren, 2nd ed. (Hamburg, 1995), 256. Wildt relativizes an interpretation that otherwise is still very much in the forefront and apparently is still employed—as needed—to provide the context for some arguments.Google Scholar
  19. See, for example Christoph Gusy, “Einleitung—Weimar: Geschichte als Argument,” in Weimars lange Schatten, ed. idem (Baden-Baden, 2003), 16–18: Although he presents the “young Bonn Republic” as a “site of economic growth and of stability,” thus hinting at an expansion of the paradigm of the economic miracle, he also emphasizes the material development from which “large sections of the population palpably profited.”Google Scholar

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© Malte Zierenberg 2015

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  • Malte Zierenberg

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