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Guilds in the transition to modernity: the cases of Germany, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands

Marcel Hoogenboom, Christopher Kissane, Maarten Prak, Patrick Wallis () and Chris Minns

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: One important aspect of the transition to modernity is the survival of elements of the Old Regime beyond the French Revolution. It has been claimed that this can explain why in the late 19th and early 20th centuries some Western countries adopted national corporatist structures while others transformed into liberal market economies. One of those elements is the persistence or absence of guild traditions. This is usually analyzed in a national context. This paper aims to contribute to the debate by investigating the development of separate trades in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands throughout the 19th century. We distinguish six scenarios of what might have happened to crafts and investigate how the prevalence of each of these scenarios in the three countries impacted on the emerging national political economies. By focusing on trades, rather than on the national political economy, our analysis demonstrates that in each country the formation of national political economies and citizenship rights was not the result of a national pattern of guild survival. Rather, the pattern that emerged by the end of the 19th century was determined by the balance between old and new industries, and between national and regional or local government.

Keywords: guilds; citizenship; political economy; modernization; Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-06-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
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Published in Theory and Society, 1, June, 2018, 47(3), pp. 255-291. ISSN: 0304-2421

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