Galley C. (1995) Were cities meat grainers or not?

January 8, 2009

Galley Chris (1995) “A Model of Early Modern Urban Demography”, Economic History Review, 48/3, 448-469.


As early as 1662, researchers realized that there were an abnormally high number of death in cities relatively to the number of birth (p.448), great cities were deemed ‘the graves of mankind’. The negative natural growth was compensated by rural immigration and the cities played the role of sinks of their neighboring region’s demographic surpluses.

Sharlin (1978) proposed another interpretation: those migrants were predominantly poor and single and increased the mortality rate without affecting noticeably fertility. Thus, the permanent residents did not suffer a negative natural growth, the extra death were merely provided by the migrants. But this theory was soon dismissed by Finlay, although no further theory was advanced for lack of data (p.449). Read the rest of this entry »

Mendels F. (1972) Proto-industry: the first phase of industrialisation

October 28, 2007

Mendels Franklin F. (1972) “Proto-industrialization: The First Phase of the Industrialization Process”, The Journal of Economic History, 32/1, The Tasks of Economic History, 241-261.

Definition of the concept

Proto-industrialisation: “the rapid growth of traditionally organised but market-oriented, principally rural industry. It was also accompanied by changes in the spatial organisation of the rural economy” (241). The pattern of European agricultural production, created a massive but short-lived, seasonal demand for labour during the harvest. Journeymen were underemployed during the year, they were an available workforce for the labour-intensive textile industry which needed a lot of workers as its productivity had hardly increased since the 12th century (242). Read the rest of this entry »