Der adelige Gutsbesitzer als Getreidehändler. Rheinland und Westfalen, 18.-19. Jahrhundert
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The essay analyses the economic function and the social embedding of grain sales on noble manors in the 18th and 19th century in Rhineland and Westphalia. It turns out that the sale of grain surpluses, which take place regularly during the year at the castle courtyard, generated income that co-financed the owners a decent life. By selling to local people who had no direct access to agriculture and were thus highly dependent on local markets, the sale had a stabilizing effect on the rural social fabric. This goes along with the idea of the paternalistic landowner who had care for his entire community. In addition, within the frame of “interlocking markets”, the contemporaries simultaneously met on labor and product markets. Thus, it was also in the operational interest of the landowner to ensure their livelihood. This is also the reason for the efforts observed to give the sale a solid institutional framework, which regulated its preparation and course of action and gave the actors involved a permanent role. The study reveals the complexity of the grain management on noble estates. Here, landowners, even also in the manorial west, were more than recipients of pensions and dues. In their role as paternalistic landlords they led their operations according to moral principles, also for their own protection. Nevertheless, profit thinking was not entirely foreign to them. This can be seen in the professionalization and rationalization measures, which, however, were clearly limited.
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