This Thing Called GOODWILL: The Reynolds Metals Company and political networking in wartime America
AbstractThis article examines the Reynolds Metals Company’s political networking activities in Washington D.C. and the state capitols of the US South in the 1940s and 1950s. It argues that Reynolds’ astute recruitment of senior staff from federal and state government, adept building of elite networks in the legislative and executive branches, and judicious espousing of key political rhetoric (antitrust, regional development, national security) and nurturing of Democratic circles in the South, was crucial to their rise from a new entrant to US primary aluminum production during World War II to the second largest national producer by 1946 and a major global player by the mid-1950s. This same political networking was critical to maintaining that advantage after WWII in the face of competition from the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) and Canadian multinational the Aluminium Company of Canada (Alcan). “Wartime” – covering WWII and into the Cold War – and the legacy of state intervention in the US from the early twentieth century until the 1960s, including the New Deal, provided a fertile context for this strategy. RMC’s success owed much to founder Richard S. Reynolds Snr’s acumen, networks and social capital, and his experiences and connections accrued from working from his uncle, and noted tobacco magnate, R. J. Reynolds. The article offers insights into the nature of US business-government relations.
CitationPerchard, A. (2019) This Thing Called Goodwill: The Reynolds Metals Company and political networking in wartime America, Enterprise & Society, 20 (4), pp. 1044-1083. DOI: 10.1017/eso.2019.25
PublisherCambridge University Press
JournalEnterprise and Society
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Cambridge University Press in Enterprise and Society on 27/08/2019, available online: https://doi.org/10.1017/eso.2019.25 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/