Small producer capitalism in 18th-century England
Berg, Maxine. (1993) Small producer capitalism in 18th-century England. Business History, Vol.35 (No.1). pp. 17-39. ISSN 0007-6791Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00076799300000002
Recent models of industrial organisation incorporate batch production, flexible specialisation and network capitalism, yet histories of British industry have been written as successes and failures in gaining economies of large-scale production. The factory and the large-scale firm have dominated our ideas of the Industrial Revolution. These perspectives have been reinforced by mythologising from the early nineteenth century onward the divide between artisan and factory production. This paper points out the diversity of manufacturing structures and the relatively small scale of eighteenth-century England's first factories. It then investigates the non-factory, small- and medium-scale industry of the English metal trades, notably those of the Birmingham and Sheffield trades. The insurance and probate records of a broad range of producers of light metal goods show the very important place of a dynamic core of small- and medium-scale producers. These producers deployed multiple production units, specialisation and the division of labour, and claimed the gains of 'networking' within a workshop economy. The position of the small- to medium-scale core was eroded in the early nineteenth century, leaving a rift between small-scale and large-scale producers. and the attendant historical myths of artisan and factory production. The experience of these trades are analysed in the light of Sokoloffs ideas of the 'small scale factory' and the 'democracy of invention,' and in the light of Alfred Marshall's 'external economies' and Sargant Florence's 'industrial swarming'.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
|Divisions:||Faculty of Arts > History|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Small business -- England -- History -- 18th century, England -- Economic conditions -- 18th century, Capitalism -- England -- History -- 18th century|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Business History|
|Official Date:||January 1993|
|Number of Pages:||23|
|Page Range:||pp. 17-39|
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