1. – THE CULTURAL CONTENT OF GREEK ADVERTIZING DISCOURSE: CONTEXT – THE DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL INDUSTRY, 1950’s

By way of an introduction, we should note that this paper constitutes a sequel to the study entitled “Amalia Eleftheriadou, and the question of advertizing, 1950’s-1970’s”. Taken as a component part of the latter text, this present paper is the second part of our sociological study of advertizing discourse in Greece for the period we have been discussing. Instead of examining the degree to which an advertizing discourse “provoked” or “adjusted” itself to local conditions, we shall here limit ourselves to the cultural content of a particular advertisement. The paper’s basic structure is simple: we shall begin by surveying the general socio-historical context in which such discourse was to sprout. We shall then examine advertizing discourse in terms of very general categories – i.e. (i) globally-based advertizing discourse (and which would primarily include advertizing emanating from the USA); (ii) European-based advertizing discourse; (iii) local Greek advertizing discourse; (iv) advertizing discourse related to the electronic revolution, which was to permeate sectors of Greek society by the 1980’s (and which must therefore be viewed as the aftermath to the 1950’s-1970’s period); (v) advertizing discourse related to the Greek film industry (constituting a section appended to this study, if only because such particular discourse clearly brings to the surface the rather complex relationship that held between “global stereotypes” and “local models” as depicted in advertizing promoting films, as also in the content of certain films themselves).

As regards the general socio-historical and economic context, we have little choice but to begin by examining the role of the American State in “reconstructing” Greece following the Greek Civil War, and the implications of such role in the possible development of local Greek industry. It was the relative development of the latter that would set the stage for the different forms of advertizing discourse to be unfolded and which would necessarily interact with one another. It was also within such material context that our “Amalia-type” would herself have to interact.

It is perhaps useful to begin here with a general abstract statement that may be taken as a truism, but which nonetheless needs concrete historical verification. War, it has been said, is necessarily followed by some form or other of positive “reconstruction”. In a rather obscure book narrating the history of the natural sciences, Humphrey Pledge notes:

 

“The greatest scientific value of war has not lain in research into weapons like explosives, but into remedies for their effects. Rulers indifferent to the fate of their civilian subjects were keenly alive to that of their soldiers, and we shall notice many decisive biological advances made by military surgeons” (cf. H.T. Pledge, Science since 1500, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1966, p. 26, my emph.).

 

Such a general statement, we are suggesting, requires specific verification. It also calls for an examination of the specific forms that these “remedies”, as applied (or to the extent that these were applied), would take. Following the Civil War, of course, the Americans would naturally be issuing proclamations and other propaganda materials that would wish to assert the generous aid – or “remedies” – they would be offering to the Greek people. These are the functions of any State, let alone of an “imperialistic” State asserting itself under conditions of what was turning out to be a Cold War. But we cannot reduce all American political discourse to mere propaganda. We shall be examining a sample of historical documents that may have simply expressed intentions, plans and declarations. We might even come across cases of gross propaganda meant to appease. But, in any case – and as we shall see – local Greek industry would in fact be bolstered and did develop between the 1950’s-1970’s period. It is within such specific context that we need to understand local advertizing discourse – and its interaction with global or European discourse – in the course of that period.

Before we examine the relevant sources available to us, perhaps we should also add that such period of economic “reconstruction” and development needs to be contrasted to what was to happen to the Greek economy by the 1980’s, when Greece would fully enter the EEC. By that time, local manufacturers would be literally struggling to survive the onslaught of free competition with European-based oligopolistic or monopoly capitals in a new context where all forms of “protectionism” would gradually be withdrawn. Consider what the two Greek Associations of Flour Millers at the time (the Σύνδεσμος Αλευροβιομηχάνων της Ελλάδος and the Σύνδεσμος Ελλήνων Αλευροβιομηχάνων) had to say to the then Minister of Trade, G. Moraitis, in 1983:

 

«ΚΥΡΙΕ ΠΡΟΕΔΡΕ,
ΟΙ ΣΥΝΔΕΣΜΟΙ ΑΛΕΥΡΟΒΙΟΜΗΧΑΝΩΝ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΛΛΗΝΩΝ ΑΛΕΥΡΟΒΙΟΜΗΧΑΝΩΝ ΔΙΑΜΑΡΤΥΡΟΝΤΑΙ ΓΙΑ ΤΙΣ ΕΞΑΓΓΕΛΘΕΙΣΕΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΝ ΥΠΟΥΡΓΟ ΕΜΠΟΡΙΟΥ ΤΙΜΕΣ ΤΩΝ ΑΛΕΥΡΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥ ΣΙΜΙΓΔΑΛΙΟΥ ΠΟΥ ΑΦΙΣΤΑΝΤΑΙ ΤΗΣ ΑΝΤΙΚΕΙΜΕΝΙΚΗΣ ΚΟΣΤΟΛΟΓΗΣΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΟΔΗΓΟΥΝ ΤΟΝ ΚΛΑΔΟ ΣΕ ΧΡΕΟΚΟΠΙΑ. ΖΗΤΟΥΜΕ ΔΙΑΛΟΓΟ ΜΕ ΑΝΤΙΠΑΡΑΘΕΣΗ ΚΟΣΤΟΛΟΓΙΩΝ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΕΞΕΥΡΕΣΗ ΛΥΣΙΣ.
ΜΕ ΤΙΜΗ…» (cf. Α&Μ Archives, official document, 2.8.1983, File No. 135).

 

These two Associations, representing all of the important Flour Mills of Greece (including the Α&Μ Four Mill based at Aliartos), would be protesting about the new price policies – with respect to flour and flour substitutes – adopted by the Greek Government following its entry into the EEC. Very simply, the Associations were saying that their sector was being led to bankruptcy («χρεωκοπία»). Elsewhere, they would openly be speaking of a looming total destruction of the flour manufacturing industry (cf. File No. 135, where numerous such documents are available). We know that such a reality would apply to all the other major sectors of the Greek economy in the course of the 1980’s. Such circumstances – rather tragic for the Greek economy as a whole (and the two Associations of Flour Millers would also point to such reality as well) – need be mentioned here as they do emphasize the short-lived span of real industrial development that the Greek social formation would experience following the immediate post-war period. A reference to the final downward crunch of the 1980’s merely serves to accentuate the significance of the “big bang” that had preceded it. Such “big bang” would go hand-in-hand with an explosion of the advertizing industry, whether locally-based, European or global (the cumulative interaction of these would constitute an ideology which would be expressive of what we have elsewhere described as the rise of the Greek middle class milieu).

Let us now examine US “rehabilitation” and “relief” policy with respect to Greece in the decade of the 1950’s. The periodical Παραγωγικότης (transl. Productivity – much cited in the preamble to our discussion of the “provocative” and “adjustive” type of advertizing discourse, op. cit.) constitutes an excellent source of information regarding the programs and intentions of the American State as regards post-war Greece. In fact, it was the official organ of the Ελληνικό Κέντρο Παραγωγικότης (the Greek Productivity Center), itself a structure which may be traced back to the American Economic Mission, but which was only founded in 1953. An issue of the periodical in question, published in 1957, would present its readers with a long and detailed article entitled «Ο ρόλος και η σημασία της βιοτεχνίας εν τη οικονομία της χώρας μας» (transl. “The role and significance of small crafts industries in the economy of our country”), and which was based on a lecture given by G. Termentzis, the then President of the Athens Chamber of Crafts Industries (an organization closely aligned with the Greek Productivity Center). We consider this text highly important for two basic reasons. Firstly, it gives us a rather lucid picture of how the American Mission and the later Productivity Center viewed the political economy of Greece at the time. Secondly, and most importantly, it can give us as lucid a picture of the USA’s general program and intentions with respect to Greece.

How does Termentzis – as also the Productivity Center et al – present the political economy of the Greek social formation in the period of the 1950’s? Firstly, small crafts industries – seen as constituting a discreet sector – are said to occupy the third most important position in the Greek economy, at least in terms of net proceeds. According to Termentzis:

 

«Εντός της ελληνικής οικονομίας… η Βιοτεχνία κατέχει, από απόψεως ύψους παραγωγής αγαθών, την τρίτην θέσιν, μετά την Γεωργίαν και Βιομηχανίαν. Κατά το έτος 1955, το εκ της βιοτεχνικής δραστηριότητος πραγματοποιηθέν καθαρόν προϊόν ανήλθεν εις 2.810 εκατομμύρια τρεχουσών δραχμών, αντιπροσωπεύον 30% επί του συνολικού εισοδήματος της μεταποιήσεως. Το εισόδημα της Γεωργίας κατά το αυτό έτος (1955) ανήλθεν εις 19.801 εκατομμύρια δραχμών και της Βιομηχανίας εις 6.536 τοιάυτα» (cf. Παραγωγικότης, December 1957, issue no. 24, Athens, p. 12).

 

And yet, despite its third position in the Greek economy as a whole, the sector of small crafts industries outdid the formal manufacturing sector in terms of the number of people employed, and did so by far. Termentzis explains:

 

«Συμαντικήν επίσης θέσιν εις τα πλαίσια της ελληνικής οικονομίας κατέχει η Βιοτεχνία και από απόψεως απασχολήσεως. Ούτως, επί συνόλου πληθυσμού απασχολουμένου εις την μεταποίησιν των αγαθών εν γένει (βιομηχανία, βιοτεχνία) εκ 560.000 ατόμων, 160.000 άτομα απασχολούνται εις την Βιομηχανίαν και 400.000 άτομα έχουν απασχόλησιν εις την Βιοτεχνικήν παραγωγήν. Ο αριθμός ούτος αντιστοιχεί εις 11.4% του συνολικώς απασχολουμένου πληθυσμού της χώρας μας» (ibid.).

 

The text presents us with comparative figures regarding employment in the various sectors of the Greek economy, and with special reference to 1952. Some of these figures include the following:

 

Agriculture: 58% - 2.030.000 persons
Small crafts: 11.4% - 400.000 persons
Trade: 10% - 352.000 persons
Different professions: 4.8% - 168.000 persons
Manufacture: 4.6% - 160.000 persons

 

The conclusions we may draw here – as does Termentzis himself – are the following: (i) taken with the agricultural sector, small crafts constituted the second most important employer in the Greek economy; (ii) apart from the agricultural sector – i.e., if one were to focus exclusively on secondary industry – small crafts clearly constituted the number one source of employment; (iii) the formal manufacturing industry per se – as a discreet sector of small- or medium-sized endogenous capitals – occupied a mere fifth position with respect to percentage employment. Termentzis writes:

 

«Εκ των στοιχείων τούτων… καταφαίνεται ότι το μεγαλύτερον ποσοστόν (58%) του ενεργώς απασχολουμένου πληθυσμού της χώρας μας απασχολείται εις τα γεωργικά επαγγέλματα, εκ δε των λοιπών κλάδων της παραγωγικής δραστηριότητος η Βιοτεχνία κατέχει την πρώτην θέσιν… Προκύπτει, λοιπόν, ότι η ευρεία βάσις της μεταποιητικής απασχολήσεως εν τη οικονομία της χώρας είναι η Βιοτεχνία» (ibid., my emph.).

 

We can clearly see here how the erstwhile American Economic Mission and the later Greek Productivity Center would, at least through the eyes of the Athens Chamber of Crafts Industries, “read” the political economy of Greece at the time. For them, Greek crafts industries were priority number one, if only because it was this sector which constituted the central most important employer in Greek manufacturing.

The practical implications of such a “reading” were clear-cut: small crafts industries could only but play a strategic role in the economy of Greece – it was not only that these constituted the most important source of employment in the country (of obvious political importance). More than that, it was recognized that at least certain aspects of material production would, whatever be the technological developments, remain a “monopoly” of small crafts industries. As such, it was absolutely important that the latter sector had to be bolstered in all fields of its productive activity. The text we are here considering is absolutely succinct on this matter:

 

«Υπάρχουν ωρισμέναι παραγωγικαί ενέργειαι μεταποιήσεως της ύλης, αι οποίαι, υφ’ οιασδήποτε τεχνικάς εξελίξεις και τελειοποιήσεις, θα παραμείνουν, μονοπώλιον της Βιοτεχνίας. Δια τούτο η οικονομική πολιτική οφείλει να ενισχύση την βιοτεχνίαν εις όλους τους τομείς της παραγωγικής της δράσεως» (ibid., my emph.).

 

Bolstering the sector of small crafts industries – which was itself a segment of endogenous non-monopoly capital – was part and parcel of the strategy of US “intervention” in Greece. The usual “Left-wing” suggestion had always been that American policy was to strangulate local capital and merely establish a haven for multi-national corporations. That needs to be rejected as an over-simplification. Of course, this would mean that we would have to adopt a completely different approach as regards the role of “global” and “local” advertizing discourse, as also the interaction between these. No, it was not simply a matter of the one wishing to annihilate the other. On the other hand, there could be acute competition between advertizing campaigns, especially when companies would vie for a specific market share.

The American Economic Mission and its local allies had always been fully aware that the project of bolstering Greek small crafts industries would be no easy matter. A major obstacle was the very morphology of the sector itself. Both prior to and after the war, small crafts industries were – by definition – characterized by an internally dysfunctional segmentation of the production process. Termentzis described the problem as follows:

 

«Η Βιοτεχνία, λόγω του έντονου καταμερισμού της εις μικράς μονάδας, εμφανίζει οργανικήν αδυναμίαν έναντι της Βιομηχανίας, τόσον εις την πρόσκτησιν των μέσων, όσον και εις τον συγχρονισμόν της από απόψεως μεθόδων. Και αισθάνεται δια τούτο την ανάγκην, περισσότερον των άλλων βασικών κλάδων της παραγωγής, της συνδρομής του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Παραγωγικότητος» (ibid., p. 14).

 

We see here that the sector of small crafts industries – as represented by the Athens Chamber of Crafts Industries – itself recognizes the need for the Greek Productivity Center to come to its aid. In fact, it was even asking for a certain preferential treatment vis-à-vis the Greek industrial sector per se. Termentzis further explains:

 

«Διαισθάνονται οι Έλληνες βιοτέχναι, ως κατασκευασταί, τας προόδους της επιστήμης και της τεχνικής και επιθυμούν ζωηρώς να επωφεληθούν εκ τούτων, δεν έχουν όμως ακριβή αντίληψιν περί αυτών και η εφαρμογή των δια τούτο θα είναι βραδεία…» (ibid.).

 

Those who operate small crafts industries, we are told, could intuit that much progress was being made in the fields of science and technology. Naturally, they would wish to benefit from such developments. On the other hand, their knowledge of such processes was not precise, and which would mean that whatever implementation of the new technologies would inevitably remain slow. The President of the Athens Chamber would call upon the Greek Productivity Center to directly assist small crafts industries. The idea was to help these increase their productive capacity, and this could only be done by modernizing their installations as also their production methods. This is how Termentzis puts it:

 

«Πρέπει, συνεπώς, να επιδιώξωμεν εις την Βιοτεχνίαν την αύξησιν των αποδόσεων ή, άλλως, της παραγωγικότητος, δια του συγχρονισμού των εγκαταστάσεων και της εισαγωγής τελειοτέρων μεθόδων παραγωγής. Εις την Βιοτεχνίαν ο τεχνεργάτης είναι άμεσος συνεργάτης του βιοτέχνου. Εργάζεται και αποδίδει όσον επιτρέπουν εις αυτόν αι γνώσεις, η εμπειρία και η ικανότης του προς κατασκευήν. Και τούτο διότι εργαζόμενος δια την επιχείρησιν, εργάζεται και δι’ εαυτόν. Αποκτά καλήν φήμην και είναι τούτο απαραίτητον δια την μέλλουσαν άσκησιν υπ’ αυτού ιδίου βιοτεχνικού επαγγέλματος ήτοι δια την εξέλιξίν του εις επιχειρηματίαν βιοτέχνην» (ibid.).

 

As is the case throughout this text, Termentzis is calling upon the Greek Productivity Center to help crafts industries modernize and perfect their production process. We have already seen how this sector had been allocated a strategic role in the Greek economy given the number of people it employed, as also given its de facto “monopolization” of certain aspects in the manufacturing of materials. In the quote above, however, Termentzis does go one step further, and which is in fact an argument of primary importance when viewed in the context of the American Economic Mission’s initial and essential project in Greece – viz., “reconstruction”. The gist of the above quote is that the sector of the small crafts industries was least bedevilled by the exigencies of the capital-labour contradiction (be these strike action, animosities between employer and employees, and so forth). Precisely because such contradictions simply did not characterize the shop floor of small crafts industries, such units of production constituted the most solid basis upon which one could secure “reconstruction”. More specifically, Termentzis is here arguing that the technicians working in the sector of crafts industries are essentially co-workers, partners or direct associates of the owner of the unit of production («ο τεχνεργάτης είναι άμεσος συνεργάτης του βιοτέχνου»). Working people in such context would perform according to the technical knowledge they happened to possess, according to their experience in the field, and also according to their personal competence. For this type of technician, working for the company was also working for himself. He would care a great deal about his own “good name” as a technician, he would care for his own personal progress, and he aimed at someday developing into an entrepreneur himself. We know, of course, that the reality described by Termentzis was not at all an ideological distortion of the Greek reality – at least with respect to small units of production, the employer-employee relationship would almost approximate a “family relationship” (and in fact numerous units of production – whatever their relative size – were actually family-based). We know, further, that the vast majority of Greek working people – and especially those with a certain technical knowledge – would all aspire to become independent entrepreneurs (and many did achieve such personal ambition). But we can also clearly see here why the sector of crafts industries would constitute the most “politically” favourable terrain upon which the American Mission – and its successors – could intervene. That, at least, was the intention – and it was an understandable strategy.

It was precisely such given reality that would delimit the field of “intervention” on the part of the Greek Productivity Center – at least with respect to the sector of crafts industries (this would not of course mean that the Center would ignore small- or middle-sized industrial capitals as such). Termentzis verifies this:

 

«Τα δεδομένα ταύτα διαγράφουν σαφώς τα περιθώρια δράσεως του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Παραγωγικότητος εις τον βιοτεχνικόν τομέα και προσδιορίζουν την σοβαράν έκτασιν,την οποίαν δύναται να προσλάβη η έννοια της παραγωγικότητος εις την βιοτεχνίαν εργαστηριακής μορφής» (ibid., my emph.).

 

We have already suggested above – in passing – that the strategic focus on the sector of small crafts industries would not at all mean that the American Economic Mission would ignore the as important question of bolstering endogenous capital as a whole. The Mission was well aware that all the sectors of industrial production were in fact a chain of interrelated, communicating vessels and that, if the Greek economy was to be in any way developed, it had to be “protected” in its entirety. What we are noting here is of the utmost importance and needs to be contrasted to what was to ensue following Greece’s later entry into the EEC. Yes, the American Economic Mission would wish to “protect” the Greek economy as a whole – and especially the competitiveness of Greek products – vis-à-vis powerful foreign capitals (which would presumably also include US monopolies), and “protect” it given the cut-throat competition of foreign markets. The representative of the Athens Chamber of Crafts Industries would acknowledge such intentions on the part of the Americans and their local allies, and he would call upon local entrepreneurs – and especially those involved in the crafts industries, which he directly represented – to cooperate with the Greek Productivity Center so as to fulfill such general objectives. We read in the selfsame text:

 

«Πρέπει όμως να ληφθούν πολλά προληπτικά μέτρα, δια να μην πληγή η οικονομία του τόπου. Τα μέτρα αυτά είναι δύο ειδών: α) Εξωτερικά – και Διεθνή. Δηλαδή προστασίας των μικρών χωρών από τον συναγωνισμόν των μεγάλων και β) Εσωτερικά, δηλαδή αναπτύξεως της εγχωρίου παραγωγής… και προσπαθείας, ώστε τα ελληνικά προϊόντα να γίνουν συναγωνίσιμα στην διεθνή αγοράν… Οι Έλληνες βιοτέχναι καλούνται να παράσχουν όλην αυτών την ενίσχυσιν και συνδρομήν, δια να επιτευχθούν ενωρίτερων και πληρέστερον οι σκοποί και αι επιδιώξεις του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Παραγωγικότητος» (ibid., pp. 14-15, his emph.).

 

Of course, one may wish to doubt the intentions and/or general objectives of the US Government and the organs of its foreign policy in Greece, as was the American Economic Mission and its local allies in the country. One may wish to reduce all such statements and declarations to mere propaganda, and especially given the onset of the Cold War. Alternatively, one could simply argue that all this was tantamount to mere wishful thinking on the part of the Greek Productivity Center.

Perhaps the best way in which one could answer such questions is to examine the specific manner in which the Greek Productivity Center would or would not assist local Greek capital, and more particularly as regards very small units of production. The best possible approach to the problem is to consider how the Greek Productivity Center related to very specific local companies taken as samples.

A 1958 issue of the Center’s organ, Παραγωγικότης, would present readers with an article entitled as follows:

 

«ΑΙ ΕΝΙΣΧΥΣΕΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΕΛ.ΚΕ.ΠΑ. ΕΙΣ ΠΑΡΑΓΩΓΙΚΑΣ ΕΠΙΧΕΙΡΗΣΕΙΣ – ΤΟ ΔΑΝΕΙΟΝ ΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΕΡΓΟΣΤΑΣΙΟΝ Δ. ΦΟΥΡΝΑΡΑΚΗ, ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ…» (cf. Παραγωγικότης, April 1958, issue no. 28, Athens, pp. 197-198).

 

The contents of this article were first presented in the form of a précis:

 

«Το εργοστάσιον κατασκευής κιβωτίων εξωπλίσθη με νέα, συγχρονισμένα μηχανήματα, συντελούντα εις την αύξησιν της παραγωγικότητός του και την ποιοτικήν βελτίωσιν των προϊόντων του» (ibid., p. 197).

 

Two points are apparent at this stage: (i) It is implied that the Greek Productivity Center (herein referred to as «ΕΛ.ΚΕ.ΠΑ.», it being the Greek acronym) is offering economic aid («ΕΝΙΣΧΥΣΕΙΣ») to a variety of local Greek companies that were considered to be “productive” («ΠΑΡΑΓΩΓΙΚΑΣ ΕΠΙΧΕΙΡΗΣΕΙΣ»); (ii) Companies such as that of Δ. Φουρναράκη were being provided with new, modern machines meant to raise productivity and upgrade the quality of their products. Both issues would be taken up again in the body of this article. The Greek Productivity Center, it is said, would be granting loans to a series of local companies, and Δ. Φουρναράκη would be just one such example of productive units – we read:

 

«Εις την σειράν των μέχρι τούδε χορηγηθέντων υπό του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Παραγωγικότητος δανείων προς ενίσχυσιν της παραγωγικότητος των εγχωρίων βιομηχανιών και επιχειρήσεων, περιλαμβάνεται και το δοθέν προς το εν Θεσσαλονίκη επιχειρηματίαν κ. Διομήδην Φουρναράκην δάνειον, δι’ ανάπτυξιν του εργοστασίου του παραγωγής κιβωτίων συσκευασίας» (ibid.).

 

The article would proceed to give readers a profile of the Φουρναράκη company, which had been established in the early 1930’s:

 

«Το εν λόγω εργοστάσιον συνεστήθη το πρώτον εν έτει 1934, κατασκεύαζε δε τότε διάφορα κιβώτια εκ ξύλου δια την συσκευασίαν και την εν τω εσωτερικώ μεταφοράν νωπών καρπών και λαχανικών, κυρίως, κ.ά. ειδών (κονσερβών, σαπώνων, ιχθύων κτλ.)» (ibid.).

 

According to the above extract, we see that the Φουρναράκη factory had been manufacturing wooden crates for the packaging, storage and transportation of various products, such as fish and fresh vegetables, but also tinned foods and soap. Since 1934, the freighting had been limited exclusively to the local market.

By 1950, Greece would commence to more systematically sell its fruit products to foreign markets. Such export activity would prompt the Φουρναράκη factory to start manufacturing special containers suited to the packaging and freighting of such export products – we read:

 

«Από του έτους 1950, ότε ήρχισε συστηματικωτέρα η εξαγωγή ελληνικών φρούτων εις τας ξένας αγοράς, το εργοστάσιον Δ. Φουρναράκη ασχολείται ιδίως εις την κατασκευήν κιβωτίων ειδικού τύπου δια την καταλληλοτέραν συσκευασίαν και μεταφοράν των προϊόντων τούτον εις το εξωτερικόν» (ibid.).

 

Apparently, we here had a local Greek company which the Greek Productivity Center would consider “productive” – the company would have the will and capacity to adjust to new conditions and thereby start manufacturing special containers to meet the needs of the new export activity in fruit products. Its success in the field, bolstered by such up-and-coming export trends, would inevitably mean that the company would need to expand its own productive installations. We read further:

 

«Η επιτυχία αυτή, υποβοηθούσα την εξαγωγήν, προέβαλε συγχρόνως την ανάγκην περαιτέρω αναπτύξεως του αναφερομένου εργοστασίου Δ. Φουρναράκη, ίνα δυνηθή ν’ανταποκριθή εις την από έτους εις έτους αυξανομένην ζήτησιν των ειδών του» (ibid.).

 

The company’s need to expand its activities would lead the entrepreneur to lodge an application with the Greek Productivity Center for a loan. The Center ruled favourably on the application and granted Δ. Φουρναράκη a loan amounting to 150.000 drachmas – the article continues:

 

«Λαμβάνουσα πάντα τ’ ανωτέρω υπ’ όψιν της, η διοίκησις του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Παραγωγικότητος έκρινεν ευνοϊκώς την προς αυτό υποβληθείσαν υπό του εν λόγου επιχειρηματίου αίτησιν δανειοδοτήσεώς του και εχορήγησεν εις αυτόν δάνειον 150.000 δραχμών» (ibid.).

 

This would be a 5-year loan with an interest rate of 7%. Importantly, the article goes on to explain that such loans were being granted for very specific purposes, and thus the borrower had to meet certain obligations:

 

«Το δάνειον εχορηγήθη δια διάρκειαν πέντε ετών και με επιτόκιον προς 7%, δοθέντος δε ότι τα δάνεια παραγωγικότητος χορηγούνται υπό του ΕΛ.ΚΕ.ΠΑ. προς ωρισμένον σκοπόν, η επιχείρησις Δ. Φουρναράκη ανέλαβε συμβατικός την υποχρέωσιν όπως:… 1. Αυξήση το υπαλληλικόν και εργατικόν προσωπικόν αυτής, αναλόγως προς την αναπτυχθησομένην πρόοδον των εργασιών της. 2. Αυξήση, κατά ποσοστόν 5%, το μέσον όρον των μισθών και ημερομισθίων του προσωπικού της. Και, 3. Προβή εις μείωσιν της τιμής των προϊόντων της κατά 5%, εν συγκρίσει προς τας τιμάς πωλήσεως των ιδίων προϊόντων της, κατά τον χρόνον της χορηγήσεως του δανείου» (ibid., pp. 197-198).

 

We can clearly see here the intentions of the Greek Productivity Center: its loan to the company, which is part of a project to increase the productivity of local Greek companies in general, obliges the entrepreneur to fulfill certain specific obligations: (i) it must increase the number of both its White Collar and Blue Collar employees – such increase would be proportionate to the increase of the company’s turnover; (ii) it must raise wages and salaries by 5%; (iii) it must reduce the price of its product by 5% for the duration of the loan-period.

What were the results of such an intervention on the part of the Greek Productivity Center? By 1957, the company in question – which we consider here as a mere sample – would be able to raise its productivity and sales to levels that would be representative of at least segments of endogenous non-monopoly capital in the course of the 1960’s and early 1970’s (we shall definitely have to come back to this, verifying the observation). The article provides us with data indicating such increase in productivity and sales with respect to the Δ. Φουρναράκη firm – it compares data for 1955 vis-à-vis 1957:

 

«Ούτω το εργοστάσιον, κατά το 1957, παρήγαγεν εν συνόλο 280.000 κιβώτια, έναντι 110.000, αποδόσεως του 1955. Αντιστοίχως, το ύψος πωλήσεων της επιχειρήσεως έφθασεν εις 1.100.000 δραχμών κατά το 1957, έναντι 490.000 κατά το 1955» (ibid., p. 198).

 

The data show us that, within a period of two years, the Δ. Φουρναράκη company had been able to produce an extra amount of 170.000 containers; its sales had come to an extra 610.000 drachmas.

Data relating to the number of people employed also show a definite increase. But such figures are of special interest from another angle: they give us an idea of the type of local company that the Greek Productivity Center would be focusing on – viz. the classically very small Greek local capital. As the extract below tells us, the Δ. Φουρναράκη company would be able to increase its number of employees from a workforce amounting to 8 people in 1955 to a workforce amounting to 12 in 1957:

 

«Παραλλήλως, το προσωπικόν του εργοστασίου, εξ οκτώ ατόμων κατά το 1955, ηυξήθη εις 12 κατά το 1957» (ibid., p. 198).

 

Now, it was not merely via the loans of the Greek Productivity Center that Greek local capital would be bolstered. In 1950, the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) – a structure set up by the Marshall Plan aimed at the economic recovery of about 17 European countries – would announce that Greek-inspired clothes fashion was being promoted in the USA itself. In the long run, such initiatives were taken with the aim of promoting Greek exports related to the clothing industry. Here, we may consider what yet another periodical – Ανασυγκρότησις (transl. Reconstruction) – had to say with respect to the promotion of Greek clothes fashion in the American market. In 1950, this periodical – which was itself closely linked to the project promoting Greek-American economic cooperation – would publish an article entitled as follows:

 

«ΜΙΑ ΕΠΙΤΥΧΗΣ ΠΡΟΣΠΑΘΕΙΑ – Η ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΜΟΔΑ ΕΙΣ ΤΑΣ ΗΝΩΜΕΝΑΣ ΠΟΛΙΤΕΙΑΣ – ΕΝΘΟΥΣΙΩΔΗ ΑΡΘΑ ΤΩΝ ΜΕΓΑΛΥΤΕΡΩΝ ΑΜΕΡΙΚΑΝΙΚΩΝ ΕΦΗΜΕΡΙΔΩΝ» (cf. Ανασυγκρότησις, March 1950, issue no. 25, Athens, p. 4).

 

It would be the Economic Cooperation Administration/Greece (ECA/G) which would first announce that Greek-style fashion was being promoted within the US market, and that such promotion was happening through the pages of some of the most popular American magazines and newspapers. The Ανασυγκρότησις article begins by noting:

 

«Ανακοινούται από μέρους της εν Ελλάδι Οργανώσεως Οικονομικής Συνεργασίας ότι διαφημίζεται ήδη εις τας Ηνωμένας Πολιτείας Αμερικανική μόδα επηρεασμένη εκ της Ελληνικής» (ibid.).

 

We note that, at this stage, it was not necessarily Greek products as such that were being introduced to the US market. Initially, at least, it would be the idea of Greek fashion design that would be promoted by the American press. Of course, the importation of Greek products was to ensue as well, as we shall further note below. The article goes on to present us with a list of the various US publications that would undertake the promotion of such idea – we read:

 

«Τα περιοδικά μόδας ‘Γκλαίημορ’, ‘Βόγκ’ και ‘Μπαζάρ’, εις τας εκδόσεις των του μηνός Ιανουαρίου [1950], αφιέρωσαν ολοκλήρους σελίδας εις τα ελληνικά σχέδια, ως επίσης και τα περιοδικά ‘Μαντεμουαζέλ’ και ‘Γκούντ Χάουσκη-πιγκ’ [sic] τα οπόια έχουν κυκλοφορίαν εκατομμυρίων αντιτύπων. Έγκυροι εφημερίδες, όπως το ‘Χέραλντ-Τριμπιούν’, ‘Ουάσιγκτων Στάρ’ και ‘Ουάσιγκτων Πόστ’, αφιέρωσαν ολοκλήρους στήλας με φωτογραφίας και το ιστορικόν του νέου ελληνικού φορέματος» (ibid.).

 

As we see from the above quote, new ideas of Greek fashion design would be widely promoted in the USA by two types of publications: Firstly, such ideas would be promoted by popular women’s magazines focusing on the latest new fashion trends and lifestyle of the 1950’s. As is well known, and as the extract itself points out, such publications would reach millions of readers. Publications referred to would include Glamour, Vogue, Bazaar (or Harper’s Bazaar), Mademoiselle and Good Housekeeping. Secondly, new ideas of Greek clothing design would also be promoted by influential or authoritative newspapers of record – the extract mentions papers such as The Herald Tribune, The Washington Star and The Washington Post.

Judging by the sources available to us, it seems that there were quite a number of people and organizations that were behind such types of initiatives. We know that one such personage was Muriel King, of the Economic Cooperation Administration, and who was a textiles design and fashion specialist. King was to introduce Greek fashion design to an American industrialist by the name of William Lord. The periodical Ανασυγκρότησις reports:

 

«Η κ. Κίγκ, η οποία ενδιαφέρεται ζωηρώς δια την ανάπτυξιν σχεδίων της Ελληνικής υφαντουργίας και βιομηχανίας, παρουσίασε εις τον κ. Λόρντ δείγματα χειροποιήτων βαμβακερών υφασμάτων. Ο κ. Λόρντ τα εξετίμησε τόσον ώστε να γίνη ο ίδιος εισαγωγεύς ελληνικών προϊόντων…» (ibid.).

 

We observe here that, at least by 1950, American industrialists who were in some way or other related to the Economic Cooperation Administration (or to the American Mission) would themselves undertake to import Greek products for the USA market.

Muriel King, who was in this case functioning as go-between, would note the prospects that lay ahead for Greek clothes manufacturers and fashion designers – we quote her words:

 

«Το μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον το οποίον επιδεικνύουν τα αμερικανικά καταστήματα και αι γυναίκες δια τας εξ Ελλάδος εμπνεύσεις… δείχνει πόσον μεγάλες είναι οι δυνατότητες επί του πεδίου τούτου δια τους Έλληνας βιομηχάνους και σχεδιαστάς» (ibid., my emph.).

 

Based on the keen interest that was being demonstrated by American clothes outlets and consumers at the time, King could foresee the potential expansion of the US market for Greek local clothes manufacturers and designers.

We have already seen that small units of production – such as that of the Φουρναράκη firm – would be riding the wave of an increasingly export-oriented economy by manufacturing containers suited for the freighting of fruit products. We have seen how that company would be supported by a loan for such a purpose.

Further, we have seen how the products of the Greek clothes industry would be promoted within the USA with a view to boosting the exportation of new Greek-style fashion trends.

Generally speaking, one may say that by the 1950’s, the Greek economy was definitely set on orientating itself towards export activities (the overall picture regarding Greek exports in the period under discussion will be considered in some detail further below, especially in the context of the 1960’s industrial development).

What is perhaps most symptomatic of such new orientation is the manufacture of the Greek refrigerated shipping container, and which would be a development that would be promoted by the periodical Παραγωγικότης (op. cit.) of the Greek Productivity Center.

An article published in a 1956 issue of this periodical announces that a certain Greek manufacturer – by the name of Κορχανίδης (transl. Korhanides) – had successfully produced just such a shipping container, and which was already in use.

The article goes on to describe in some technical detail the design and functioning of this “automatic container system” – part of the text reads as follows:

 

«Αυτόματον container συστήματος Κορχανίδη (οπισθία όψις [a picture of the container is published]). Το ψυκτικόν μηχάνημα αυτού, ως φαίνεται εις την εικόνα, εφαρμόζεται έξωθεν… και δύναται να αντικατασταθή αμέσως. Ως γνωστόν, η βιομηχανική εφαρμογή της ψύξεως, εις την συντήρησιν φθαρτών προϊόντων, επέφερεν αληθή επανάστασιν, εις την παγκόσμιον οικονομίαν. Τα containers επολιτογραφήθησαν ήδη, ως μέσα μεταφοράς και ουχί ως μέσα συσκευασίας. Τα αυτόματα τοιαύτα, συστήματος Κορχανίδη, βάσει των νεωτέρων δεδομένων της τεχνικής ψύξεως, αποτελούν εν σύνολον, συγκείμενον από δύο στοιχεία, εντελώς διακεκριμένα: Αφ’ ενός από το κυρίως container, το οποίον είναι χώρος θερμικώς μεμονωμένος και αφ’ ετέρου από ψυκτικόν μηχάνημα, το οποίον εφαρμόζεται επ’ αυτού ως εις την ανωτέρω εικόνα… Αυτονόητος εξ’ άλλου είναι η από εμπορικής απόψεως σημασία του container και δη εις την χώραν μας, η οποία πραγματοποιεί μεγάλας εξαγωγάς νωπών καρπών και εις την οποίαν η αύξησι της δενδροκηπευτικής παραγωγής σημειώνει, κατ’ έτος, αλματώδη άνοδον. Τα containers Κορχανίδη διαγράφουν ήδη νέας αισιοδόξους προοπτικάς δια τας Ελληνικάς εξαγωγάς» (cf. Παραγωγικότης, April-May 1956, issue no. 12, Athens, p. 34).

 

The article places the Korhanides container in the context of international developments with respect to freighting and containerizing, and especially as regards the development of the refrigerated/insulated container. Further, and as in the case of the article discussing the Φουρναράκη firm, this text also goes on to point to the escalating increase in Greek horticultural production and the concomitantly increasing exportation of fresh fruits. The Korhanides “automatic container system” is said to be already playing an important role in such export activities, with future prospects being especially optimistic («διαγράφουν ήδη νέας αισιοδόξους προοπτικάς δια τας Ελληνικάς εξαγωγάς»).

We may conclude this sub-section focussing on the development of Greek local industry in the immediate post-war period by making the following observation: Both in the food and in the clothing industry (at least), the Greek economy was moving towards the expansion and relative stabilization of export activities. The Greek-manufactured shipping container was, perhaps, one of the most symbolic of industrial developments of the period.

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