Consumption, Social Capital, and the ‘Industrious Revolution’ in Early Modern Germany
This paper uses evidence from German-speaking central Europe to address open questions about the Consumer and Industrious Revolutions. Did they happen outside the early-developing, North Atlantic economies? Were they shaped by the “social capital” of traditional institutions? How were they affected by social constraints on women? It finds that people in central Europe did desire to increase market work and consumption. But elites used the “social capital” of traditional institutions to oppose new work and consumption practices, especially by women, migrants, and the poor. Although they seldom blocked new practices wholly, they delayed them, limited them socially, and increased their costs.