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18 th Century Social and Economic Change. The Dawn of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. . Economic and demographic changes. 1700, 80% of western Europeans were farmers; higher % in eastern Europe Most people lived in poverty.

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18 th Century Social and Economic Change

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18th Century Social and Economic Change

The Dawn of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.


Economic and demographic changes

  • 1700, 80% of western Europeans were farmers; higher % in eastern Europe

  • Most people lived in poverty.

  • Significant population growth until 1650; slows down until 1750 when it starts to dramatically rise again.


Population Explosion after 1750

  • Limits to population growth before 1700: - famine, disease, war

  • Reasons for population growth:

    • disappearance of plague

    • improved sanitation,

    • improved transportation for food distribution (canal and road building in western Europe),

    • increased food supply (esp. potato).


Falling Death Rates

  • With the exception of England, birth rates did not significantly rise, but death rates fell.

  • A better nourished population (due to better weather, better agricultural practices, and better transport) led to people living longer.


Impact of Profit Inflation

  • Inflation due to rising population and increased demand.

  • “Profit inflation” stimulated economic growth.

  • By the end of the 18th century, prices outperform wages, leading to hardship for the poor, particularly in France.

  • Wealth moved more and more from the poor to the wealthy due to high rents and low wages

  • Regressive tax structure that put the burden on the poor in France and much of the continent caused hardship and led to financial crises.


Protoindustrialization

  • Cottage Industries: first and foremost a family enterprise (also called “putting-out” system)

    - Occurred during Agricultural Revolution

  • Putting-out system: city manufacturers took advantage of cheaper labor in the countryside

    • increased rural population eager to supplement agricultural income.

    • began to challenge urban craft industry


The European Linen Industry


Conclusion

  • Demographic changes in the 18th century were allowing population growth to occur due to expansion in agricultural production.

  • Population growth contributed to the increased demand, leading to “protoindustrialization” in the textile industries.


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