Germany and Its Evolution in Modern Times

By Henri Lichtenberger; A. M. Ludovici | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE EFFECTS OF THE SYSTEM OF ENTERPRISE UPON THE OLD FORMS OF INDUSTRY

I

AFTER having described the system of capitalistic enterprise, and depicted its chief manifestations, we must now consider how it has modified the old forms of economic activity, domestic industry, the craftsman's work, and agricultural life.

The importance from the earliest times until quite recently of home industries among rural populations is well known. Until about the middle of the last century, the German peasant differed very little from his prototype of ancient days, who, with the help of his household, was almost entirely self-supporting. Even when the nineteenth century was in full swing, the German peasant did not limit himself to producing the simple necessities of life, but, in addition, utilised his leisure moments to fashion for himself the various things he required. He was his own baker and his own butcher. He used to spin and weave the wool or the flax required for his clothes and linen. He was able to build and repair his own house with its wooden framework, its loam-coated walls, and its thatched roof, and was enough of a blacksmith and wheelwright, if occasion demanded, to make and keep in repair his agricultural implements

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