Zur Kommerzialisierung ländlicher Regionen im 15./16. Jahrhundert. Das Beispiel Ostschwaben

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This article discusses, on the basis of the regional textile industry of eastern Swabia, those factors that indicate a commercialisation of agriculture in the fourteenth century. The basis of this development was the production of linen and fustian cloth, in which towns and countryside were both engaged, for purposes of export to markets throughout Europe. The essay first demonstrates that the growing of flax and the spinning of thread, as well as the production of semi-finished products, engaged the capacities of rural laborers to a very considerable extent. The merest glance at patterns of rural settlement makes clear that the expansion of smallholdings, the inadequate agricultural productivity of which forced peasants to embrace by-employments, determined the growth of villages. The intensification of the market system constitutes yet another indicator, signalling the increasing economic connection between city and countryside; it, too, coincides with the expansion of the exporting of fustian cloth. The establishment of independent rural market-towns complemented attempts by cities to use market regulations to make their surrounding countrysides subject to and dependent upon them. When one studies individual weaving villages, a high degree of nonagricultural economic potential becomes visible, developed not only by urban capitalists but also and more interestingly by rural and territorial lords. Moreover the division of labor in regional textile production had an impact on other sectors of the economy, such as wood-, iron- and leather-working. On the basis of rural putting-out contracts and credit relations the monetization of the rural economy and the resort to money by rural laborers can be traced as early as 1400. These processes achieved a highpoint in the course of the sixteenth century, when the combination of agricultural and industrial production came to dominate the villages of eastern Swabia.
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Verlag DLG-Verlag
  
  
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