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Preparing the people for capitalism: relations with depositors in a French savings bank during the 1820s


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    The study of the foundation of the Bouches-du-Rh ne Savings Bank in 1821 provides an opportunity for observing how the local elite intended to lead the working classes into economic recovery. Their relationships with depositors was a clear evidence of their own belief in economic progress, and involved a new definition of how they would socially intervene, consisting of teaching an example of behaviour that would guarantee freedom. The underlying object was to give a liberal dimension to paid work by enabling it to ensure the independence of the poorest through savings. The nineteenth century opened up the social arena to morality and the founders of the Marseilles savings bank were acting within this perspective. As a significant institution, a savings bank constituted a tool for social control well suited to strengthening proximity power. The actual activity of a trustee of a savings bank sheds light on the way the upper classes integrated this work to its own strategies of economic and social domination.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Financial History Review.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 01 (April)
    Pages: 5-19

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:fihrev:v:9:y:2002:i:01:p:5-19_00

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