German corporate power abroad
For Ross, international trade isn’t only a question of economics and market needs, but is also one of regional power and influence.
During his trip through Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Ross privileges the question of German trade: where does it exist? where might it be enhanced? In Ukraine, he finds the most favorable conditions for trade investments that he advises making now because they promise to pay off in the near future. True, Ukraine is going through a devastating drought and suffers mass starvation as a result, but Ross explains that this is an anomaly, and that in two to three years, Ukraine will be ready to export its harvests again. Germany is in great need of Ukraine’s agricultural products: grain, meat, and animal products (skins, furs, pig bristles), while Ukraine needs German capital investments, most urgently agricultural machinery and equipment.
Although Ross devotes most of this chapter to calculations of import and export sales, his comments about the power of German industry deliver the underlying argument: Ukraine needs farm equipment, which, before the war, they imported almost exclusively from America. “Now German industry has the opportunity to completely oust America from its previous trade region”. Here, we see a privileging of corporate over governmental institutions as the wielders of continental power.
Colin Ross. Deutsch-ukrainische Wirtschaftsmöglichkeiten. In: Der Weg nach Osten: Reise durch Rußland, Ukraine, Transkaukasien, Persien, Buchara und Turkestan. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus; 1923; 51-56.