[Crouzet geeft een historisch overzicht van de Europese economie dat deels informatief is, maar deels ook te gemakkelijk vertrekt vanuit bepaalde stiekeme - liberale - normatieve vooronderstellingen. Dat laatste ontstaat omdat hij zich neigt terug te trekken op abstracte begrippen en cijfers als het 'BNP per hoofd van de bevolking'. Op een gegeven moment zie je niet meer de mensen achter de 'cijfers en feiten', 'de markt', en zo verder, en dat vind ik een slechte zaak.]
Dit is een 'geschiedenis van de Europese economie' in brede zin, omdat Europa nu eenmaal al vroeg handel dreef over de hele wereld, terwijl Europese staten zich later ook door imperialisme en kolonialisme over de hele wereld uitstrekten. 'Europees' valt hier dus niet zonder meer samen met de geografische aanduiding van Europa. Bovendien verschoven de belangrijke economische centra regelmatig.
Tussen 400 en 800 ongeveer: Na de ineenstorting van het Romeinse Rijk, de grote volksverhuizingen, plagen als de pest, en zo verder, was de bevolking in omvang gedaald en stelde Europa niet heel veel voor vergeleken met andere regio's:
"The Christian west was backward and poor relative to the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world (not to mention the distant civilizations of India and China) — and it was to remain so for centuries. Indeed, Paul Bairoch (1997) has written that, up to the ﬁfteenth century, what was essential in world history was happening in Asia. Europe, certainly, was on the periphery of the civilized world and of a world trade system centered in Asia. The Byzantine Empire, although attacked by many enemies and restricted in the seventh century to Asia Minor, the southern Balkans, Greece, and southern Italy (which had been reconquered in the sixth century), retained an active and relatively sophisticated economy, with luxury industries, much trade, and large towns. Constantinople and Córdoba (the latter in Muslim Spain) were by far the largest cities in Europe."(2)
De ommekeer begon na 600 en was er definitief onder de eenheid die Karel de Grote (742-814) realiseerde. Na zijn dood zien we van 850 tot 950 een terugval. Allerlei invallen van volkeren maakten een einde aan de relatieve rust. Na Karel de Grote is er geen Europa-onder-één-leider meer geweest en was er daarom sprake van een grote hoeveelheid staten en staatjes. Er was met andere woorden sprake van politieke fragmentatie. Je kunt daar op verschillende manieren naar kijken: je kunt die fragmentatie zien als innovatief (onderlinge competitie) en als destructief (veel onderlinge oorlogen).
Zeker is dat economische bloei ontstaat door rust en eenheid: wanneer er niet voortdurend invallen zijn van rondzwervende volkeren, wanneer er niet overal oorlog of oorlogsdreiging is, wanneer er geen catastrofes voorkomen als de pest, wanneer er sprake is van eenheid in politiek (Karel de Grote) of in ideologie (het christendom). Na 950 was dat steeds meer het geval. Die relatieve rust leidde tot bevolkingsgroei, die op haar beurt leidde tot meer vraag (meer monden die gevuld moesten worden), en tot meer productie en ideeën om te produceren (er werd van alles bedacht om aan de vraag te kunnen voldoen).
Belangrijke en fundamentele kwestie was steeds: wie hadden het land in bezit? En wat deden die landbezitters (edelen bv.) ermee (bv. verhuren voor een prijs?)
"During the chaos and violence of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, the numerous lords of manors, who built castles, took over most of the state's powers (including the right to command, to judge, and to punish) and revenues; thanks to their retinues of professional warriors, they dominated the countryside around their seats. With wide powers over both land and people, they were able to impose new constraints and new burdens (particularly monopolies of equipment like mills, ovens, etc.) upon the inhabitants of their manors and the areas around their castles, and to reduce some of them (but rarely the majority) to the status of serfs, who belonged from birth to their lord, were bound to the land, and bore the heaviest burden of dues and services. Many freeholders and freemen put themselves under the protection of lords, who took over their land in return. (...)
Together, the chaos of the period, the scarcity of labor, and the abundance of land made the manor an efﬁcient mode of production, and serfdom an efﬁcient institution: serfs gave labor services in return for land, protection, and justice, and the risk of holdings being deprived of labor was much reduced."(13-14)
"As it survived, the manorial system was a mixed system that combined large estates and tiny peasant-owned plots, but almost everywhere large landowners leased out their land. The result was that small family farms were dominant, with millions of small entrepreneurs who were free men and able to respond to incentives. This system was rational, adapted to the conditions of the time, and able to produce surpluses and to become market oriented; it was not inimical to change."(15)
Bevolkingsgroei ging ten koste van ongecultiveerd gebied (moerassen, bossen = boskap!). Bovendien leidde die ook tot het zich toeëigenen van gebied via oorlog, verovering, het stichten van nieuwe dorpen en steden ('frontier'-fenomeen). Een ander facet was de concentratie van mensen rondom kerken, kloosters, burchten, en zo verder vanwege de veiligheid en wederzijdse hulp. Verder bleken technische vondsten bij bevolkingsgroei dus belangrijk: een betere ploeg die diepere voren kon trekken, beter tuig voor de dieren die de ploeg trokken (de trekkracht was vier keer groter wanneer dieren werden aangetuigd op de schouders in plaats van op hun hoofd of bek), een beter systeem in de rotatie van het bebouwen (braak laten liggen van land), de introductie van nieuwe rijkere graansoorten, de bouw van watermolens en windmolens (van 6000 naar 12000 stuks tussen 1086 en 1300 in Engeland alleen al).
"It is therefore a mistake to consider medieval (and early modern) agriculture as a subsistence, self-sufﬁcient kind of farming, and peasants as backward and resistant to all innovations. A large share of output was of course consumed by the cultivators, but a growing percentage was sold on the markets (which multiplied around fortiﬁed sites beginning in the ninth and tenth centuries), because of both demand by the towns and peasants' needs for cash. And some produce — wine, wool, grain, cattle — was carried to its markets over long distances. The market and monetary economy gradually penetrated the medieval countryside. A recent study has shown that in England, in the matter of draft animals, the peasantry was more technologically progressive and willing to change than other sections of society. Indeed, technological progress was not foreign to medieval people — and this point must be stressed."(21)
Hoewel de landbouw de belangrijkste economische sector bleef, groeiden andere sectoren sneller. Het aantal steden nam vanaf de 10e eeuw toe en de handel tussen die steden ontwikkelde zich eveneens in hoog tempo.
"The urban network that was thus set up — with a peak of new foundations in the twelfth century — was to last up to nineteenth-century industrialization; 93 percent of the European towns with more than 20,000 inhabitants in 1800 had been in existence by 1300."(23)
"There was a complex interplay between the rise of towns and the expansion of agriculture: their markets were outlets for the countryside's surpluses, without which their population could not have been fed (and the penetration of the monetary economy in villages was reinforced). They also absorbed some of the rural surplus population. On the other hand, urban elites, in collaboration with some princes and lords, created a new infrastructure: markets were established, roads and waterways improved, new laws and a new judiciary introduced. Consequently, transaction costs were reduced, and trade, both interregional and transcontinental, was stimulated. Towns were the birthplace of capitalism, both effect and engine of economic expansion."(23-24)
Van de andere kant waren het geen grote steden: maar honderd hadden meer dan 12.000 inwoners. En de urbanisatie is ook betrekkelijk: maar 10% van de mensen leefden rond 1300 in de stad. De wolindustrie was er het belangrijkste. Andere industriën zoals de leerbewerkingsindustrie en de metaalindustrie waren minder belangrijk. Wel werd er enorm veel gebouwd: kastelen, met name kerken, maar ook steeds meer stenen woonhuizen. Het gildensysteem ontstaat:
"Another development that started in the twelfth century and progressed in the thirteenth was the emergence in industry and trade of a new pattern of organization, the guild system, which, like the manor, was to last for centuries. Though this system did not spread to all trades or to all places, and though it took various forms, it was widespread, with three main characteristics (plus a religious aspect). First, in each town, only members of the relevant guild might practice a trade; guilds had a hierarchical organization and their leaders had police powers with the support of the town’s authorities; and work was regulated in order to restrain competition and fraud, and to guarantee the quality of products. This was, of course, in accordance with the ideal of stability that prevailed, but inimical to innovation — and to production on a larger scale than the family workshop (the number of apprentices and workmen whom one master could employ was restricted). The trend toward corporatism and regulation was to be strengthened during the hard times of the late Middle Ages. However, regulations were far from being strictly respected, and in the textile industries they did not prevent the emergence of practices that became important: merchants came to control the whole process of production, and the artisans who worked for them were no more than wage earners. They also, of course, commercialized manufactured goods, which, together with the raw materials for their production, played an increasing role in 'international' trade."(27)
Het gildensysteem betekende stabiliteit. Van de andere kant belemmerde het dus ook wel innovatie en grootschalige productie.
De groeiende handel via grote handelscentra (bv. vanuit Italiaanse steden als Genua, Venetië) ging hand in hand met de Kruistochten en de strijd tegen de Islam. Handel met het Verre Oosten tot en met China werd normaal, maar de omvang er van moet niet overschat worden. De interne handel in Europa was veel belangrijker - eind 13e eeuw was de handelsorganisatie Hanze met zijn Hanzesteden gesticht, er waren handelsroutes door heel Europa, uitvindingen voor navigatie zoals het kompas maakten het transport gemakkelijker, het geldsysteem was geregeld, er waren grote vrijmarkten, vanaf 1202 waren de Arabische cijfers bekend die gemakkelijker in gebruik waren, laat 13e eeuw werden mechanische klokken gemaakt voor tijdmetingen, ook brillen werden uitgevonden.
"The most populous and active part of medieval Europe stretched from southeastern England through the Low Countries, a large slice of France, and the Rhineland (this was for long the heart of Europe) to Tuscany, but there were two regions that in all respects had become the most active, advanced, and rich: northern and central Italy, Flanders, and contiguous areas in present-day Belgium and northern France. This bipolarity was to last up to the sixteenth century and was an important aspect of Europe's history. A major breakthrough was thus achieved when a connection between those two poles was established."(31)
"Most historians agree that by the thirteenth century (and possibly as early as the twelfth), thanks particularly to the fairs of Champagne, an integrated European market — a respublica mercantaria, or a European 'world economy' (in the Braudelian sense) — had emerged, despite the divisions and ﬁghts between nations and states. From the eastern Mediterranean to the eastern Baltic and the Black Sea, there were increasing ﬂows of goods and circuits of trade. No quantitative measurement is possible, but the case of England is illustrative: during the thirteenth century, its overseas trade increased threefold (after adjustment for inﬂation)."(32)
"Around 1300, after three creative centuries — at the grassroots level, without constraints by nonexisting states — Europe was densely populated, mobile, active, and dynamic. Literacy, schooling, and the use of writing and reckoning had revived remarkably. Beginning in the late twelfth century, the need for accurate accounting in business developed; the introduction, c. 1202, of Arabic numerals made counting, calculating, and measuring much easier. New mentalities — ones that were not at all 'medieval' in the common meaning — were emerging. Later, time measurement became an interest. The ﬁrst mechanical, weight-driven clocks were made in the late thirteenth century, and their use spread during the fourteenth (watches and spring mechanisms would appear in the ﬁfteenth century). Landes (1983) has demonstrated their importance, as both a symptom and a proof of technological progressiveness; they were the "greatest achievement of medieval mechanical ingenuity". Their making demanded a high level of precision and thus served as an example for all other machinery. Clockmakers were to be the pioneers of mechanical engineering, and clocks a monopoly of Europe for centuries. The invention of spectacles in late thirteenth-century Pisa was also important: it at least doubled the working life of craftsmen and literate people. Altogether, there was a trend toward rationality, to the idea that nature could be mastered and its forces harnessed for human uses. Europe had traveled a long way from the 'barbarism' of the seventh century, and from the tenth to the early fourteenth century its economy changed in depth and greatly expanded."(34)
Dit 'feudale systeem' (de term is open voor discussie: de historische ontwikkelingen zijn bijzonder complex en heel verschillende per regio) kreeg weliswaar een klap door de Zwarte Dood, een pestepidemie rond 1350 die eenderde van de bevolking de dood in joeg, maar overleefde deze inzinking.
"The European economy of the late medieval and early modern times was a complex mixture. It makes more sense to call it just the 'traditional European economy'."(36)
Na 1300 ongeveer komt er een tamelijk samenhangende periode van economische bloei en dynamiek. Verschillende factoren spelen daar een rol in.
Zo ontstond er een technologische voorsprong voor het Westen: de islamitische wereld verloor deze rond 1200, China rond 1400. Waar Europa vóór 1500 alleen maar techniek overnam en imiteerde, begon het ná 1500 zelf de leiding te nemen en uitvindingen te doen die zich ook gemakkelijker dan voorheen over Europa konden verspreiden door betere netwerken (wegen, water), meer mobiliteit van groepen (vrijwillig en als vluchteling). Ook industriële spionage en het wegkopen van mensen speelden al een rol.
Het ging minder om radicale vernieuwende uitvindingen dan om verbetering van bestaande technieken (bv. in de mijnbouw, landbouw, energie-opwekking). Buskruit en allerlei wapentuig waren net als de boekdrukkunst wél duidelijk innovatief. De boekdrukkunst had meer culturele gevolgen, de militaire uitvindingen hadden meer economische gevolgen. Klokken en fijnere instrumenten speelden een grote rol, evenals de scheepsbouw (vernieuwingen als de driemaster die tegen de wind in kon varen) en de navigatie over water (kompas, andere roertechniek, sluizen). Het transport over water werd veel belangrijker dan het transport over land.
"The 'scientiﬁc revolution' of the seventeenth century, the creation of modern science by Galileo, Descartes, Newton, and others, had very little impact upon technology at the time, except some applications of mathematics (and astronomy) to civil and military engineering, navigation, and mapmaking. Some scientists took much interest in practical problems, but with few concrete results."(39)
De handel werd gemakkelijker door vernieuwingen in verzekeringen, contracten, boekhoudkunde. Ook het financiële systeem werd beter opgezet: er ontstonden publieke en private banken die 'bills of exchange', depositio en giro kenden. Vanaf 1531 ontstaan er ook financiële beurzen en worden door centrale banken bankbiljetten uitgebracht. Wat dat financiële systeem betreft speelden in eerste instantie de Italianen een belangrijke rol, Italianen en hun financiële activiteiten waren overal in Europa te vinden. Later begon Noord-Europa een grotere rol te spelen. De rol van (de diaspora van) Joodse families en van Hugenoten families in die financiële wereld was groot. Vanaf het begin bestaan er duidelijke relaties tussen banken / bankiers en de machthebbers die hen nodig hebben om oorlogen en ontdekkingsreizen te financieren.
"Italians also invented 'international banking', meaning houses involved in transfers of funds over long distances, in bills-of-exchange trading, and in arbitrage. They were established by merchant-bankers who traded on a large scale and gradually developed their ﬁnancial operations; indeed, up to the 1700s — and even later — many bankers remained merchants too. Such activities ﬂourished mainly in Tuscany (in Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Pistoia), but after 1300, the merchant-bankers of Florence established their primacy in connection with large imports of English wool for cloth making in their city, and large exports of Florentine cloth to many places around the Mediterranean. Some powerful family partnerships created networks of factors and agents in many towns, both north and south of the Alps. Quite early, merchant-bankers became involved in deals with kings and princes, to whom they made loans or advances on taxes, and also with the Holy See, to which they transferred taxes and dues collected all over Latin Christendom. Though the three most powerful merchant-banks of Florence failed in the 1340s, Italian bankers — especially those from Florence — remained dominant in Europe in the ﬁfteenth and sixteenth centuries; c. 1450, the house of Medici (established in 1397) was the most powerful house in the world."(43-44)
Ontdekkingsreizen, internationale handel, imperialisme / kolonialisme en slavenhandel hingen sterk met elkaar samen. Uiteindelijk pakte dat niet zo goed uit voor Portugal en Spanje, na 1789 ook niet voor Frankrijk. Groot-Brittannië en Nederland deden het nog het best, waardoor het zwaartepunt en de bloeiende centra van de handel verschoven van Zuid (Italië met name) naar Noord (UK, Nederland; Scandinavië en de Baltische Staten ook wel). Onrust had daarop overigens ook een grote invloed: de zuidelijke landen werden meer geteisteerd door epidemieën (de pest bv.) en door oorlogen en dat weer leidde tot emigratie naar het Noorden - een van de redenen waarom Amsterdam in 1650 hët centrum was in Europa.
"Indeed, it has been maintained that Europe enriched itself and accumulated capital, thanks to its superiority in military and business technology, at the expense of the rest of the world, through the looting and mining of precious metals in America; the cultivation of plantations in the West Indies and the southern continental colonies by slaves (slavery is a theft of labor), on land stolen from Native Americans; and the gains of the slave trade. Though slavery is by no means speciﬁc to European expansion (it had existed for millennia in many regions, including Africa), the slave trade from Africa is a critical problem. It was established to provide manpower for plantations (mainly sugar plantations) in America. As plantations’ slaves generally suffered a heavy demographic deﬁcit, with a large excess of deaths over births, an increasing and massive transatlantic forced migration of labor took place: it is accepted that 11 to 12 million Africans were forcibly deported across the Atlantic from the 1400s to the 1800s. (About the same number was carried across the Indian Ocean by Muslim traders, but over a longer period.) The average death rate during those voyages was 14 percent. Relations between the slave trade and the progress of western European economies have been much discussed."(53)
Ondanks die bloeiende handel was Europa grotendeels agrarisch en haar bevolking tamelijk arm. Handel en rijkdom trof je vooral aan in de steden. Bovendien was de handel altijd nog minder internationaal dan lokaal en regionaal.
"Foreign trade was the most dynamic sector of the economy, with repercussions that were both quantitative and qualitative, and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was seen as the driving force of a nation’s power and prosperity. Despite this, many modern historians have stressed that Europe, even in the eighteenth century, remained basically agrarian. It had a dual economy where the modern sector — commercial and industrial — was much smaller than the traditional one. Moreover, Europe was divided into many quasi-self-sufﬁcient and isolated small areas, and interregional and international trade was marginal; it only concerned the richer classes, and mainly those in towns, plus the armies and navies, while the masses lived in poverty."(58)
Wat betreft industrie ging het voornamelijk (70%) om textielindustrie: wol in het noorden, zijde in Italië en later Frankrijk (Lyon) en andere landen, linnen en katoen vanaf de 18e eeuw. Daarnaast was er metaalindustrie en drankindustrie. De productiviteit nam niet echt toe. De arbeidsorganisatie veranderde wel: de productie verschoof van stad naar platteland omdat die daar goedkoper was. Er was meestal nog sprake van een 'domestic system' van productie: hele gezinnen produceerden samen. Er was nog geen sprake van schaalvergroting behalve in de mtaalindustrie en ook bij de productie van glas, suiker, papier, bier, e.d. zien we een centrale vorm van productie ontstaan die aangeduid kan worden met de term 'proto-fabriek'.
"The rise of rural industries, which were both domestic and capitalist, which often worked for distant markets, and which peaked in the 1700s, is an important aspect of European economic history in the early modern period; it has been deemed distinctive enough, as a separate stage of economic evolution, to deserve a special name: 'protoindustrialization'."(62)
Over de verschuiving van het economisch centrum naar het Noorden (via Brugge, Antwerpen naar Amsterdam):
"However, one must also take into account the aggressive policies the Dutch followed to increase their commerce, thanks to close links between the republic’s ruling oligarchy and the world of business. There was, of course, the closing of the Scheldt estuary, which ruined Antwerp and was made permanent by treaty in 1648. Then, because the Portuguese royal family had become extinct, Portugal was annexed to Spain, allowing the Dutch to enter the Indian Ocean in 1595, conquer the Spice Islands, and capture most of the East India trade (they even traded with Japan); they also tried, unsuccessfully, to conquer Brazil. Historians have discussed whether the wealth of Holland came mainly from the traditional and bulk 'mother trades' — especially in grain from the Baltic and in herring from the North Sea — or from the 'rich trades' in high-value products from the Indies and the Levant, which were largely established by force; the latter seems the more accurate view. But the export of home-produced goods must also be taken into account: butter, cheese, beer, gin, textiles, cut diamonds, Delft earthenware, and ships. Indeed, the interactivity of agriculture, industry, trade, and ﬁnance made the whole economy dynamic and integrated.
Amsterdam thus became, by the mid-1600s, the commercial and ﬁnancial center of Europe and the world, the ﬁrst true world entrepôt, more advanced and bigger than earlier great emporia and trading cities such as Venice. It was the world market for all possible commodities and an active transshipment center, with an enormous merchant ﬂeet (the Dutch had sixteen thousand ships in 1664, at least half of Europe’s total seagoing tonnage, and unbeatably low freight charges) and powerful merchant elites. It also was the most suitable place to conduct international ﬁnancial business, thanks to asset security and transferability, and it became the clearinghouse for most bills of exchange resulting from international transactions (many of them were actually settled in bills on Amsterdam) and the leading market for precious metals."(69-70)
De situatie roept de vraag op waarom de moderne industrialisatie begon in Engeland en niet in Nederland?
"There were many reasons: the home market was narrow and many foreign markets were to be closed by protectionism; costs were higher than abroad, because industry was mainly in towns and wages high owing to heavy indirect taxation (so that labor-intensive industries could not compete with those of Britain); and there was a shortage of energy, with peat inadequate for the metal industries. Therefore, a Dutch industrial revolution was not to be, and worse, the Dutch primacy did not last long: economic decline started in the late seventeenth century (c. the 1670s) and aggravated in the eighteenth. "(70-71)
Maar de hoofdreden was toch weer de onrust: Nederland werd allerlei oorlogen binnengetrokken. Hetzelfde geldt voor de landen van Oost-Europa, waar de onrust voornamelijk ontstond door de invallen van allerlei volkeren vanuit het verder gelegen Oosten (Mongolen, Tartaren, Turken). Uiteindelijk was er daarom sprake van een verschuiving van het economische centrum naar Londen.
"However, Britain’s primacy was different from that of previous leaders. It had a big port city in London, but behind it lay a relatively large territorial state, so that the country was able, up to the twentieth century, to withstand the military and political storms that had earlier stricken small, open, trading economies, such as Venice, the Hanseatic cities, and even Holland. Moreover, English wealth was based not only on trade, which is vulnerable, but upon technological superiority."(73)
Kenmerkend voor de pre-industriële samenlevingen: vooral agricultuur; geringe graad van verstedelijking; populatieproblemen waardoor veel immigratie; weinig productiviteit; grote armoede; rudimentaire technologie, ook op het vlak van de landbouw; slechte infrastructuur; veel oorlogen, hongersnood, epidemieën en andere rampen; weinig interesse in innovatie bij bezittters die simpelweg wilden profiteren van het werk van anderen; mercantilisme en protectionisme; religieuze levensbeschouwing.
"Poverty among the masses was of course aggravated by the highly unequal income and wealth distribution; in societies that were fundamentally poor, a small number enjoyed affluence, even magnificence, but no redistribution could have cured the ills resulting from low productivity: average real incomes were bound to be very low, and a precarious living, close to the subsistence line, was inevitable for the majority of the people."(80)
"European societies also shared the values of a military and landed aristocracy, and a worldview that was deeply religious, conservative, and adverse to change. Trade and hand labor were despised. Men who had made money in business retired to buy land and live like gentlemen, so that economies suffered a loss of capital and talents (on the other hand, some noblemen were involved in business, such as mining, ironworks, shipping, and colonial trade). The idea of progress, of manipulating and transforming nature through rational investigation and experiment, only emerged slowly. However, mentalities were gradually changed — and not only among elites — by the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the seventeenth-century scientific revolution, which applied mathematics to the study of nature and developed the experimental method. Among those great cultural movements, Max Weber gave a special significance to the Calvinist Reformation, and his thesis has been recently rehabilitated by David Landes (1998)."(86)
"It freed economies from the shackles that had limited their productive powers, enabling them to multiply — fast and endlessly — people, goods, and services."(99)
[Crouzet is wel erg positief over de Industriële Revolutie. Met name dat 'endlessly' is een belachelijke karakterisering: je kunt niet eindeloos groeien, er zijn altijd beperkingen in wat je kunt doen.]
De Industriële Revolutie is eerst en vooral een drastische verandering in de technologie (stoommachine, nieuwe materialen, nieuwe energiebronnen, nieuwe transportmiddelen) en de organisatie (mechanisatie, centralisatie, grootschalige fabrieken, industriegebieden) die aan de basis lagen van de industrie. Het accent in de economie verschoof van landbouw naar industrie en dienstensector.
"Inventions and innovations were generally labor saving and generated large increases in labor productivity."(103)
[Natuurlijk, maar dat is maar een kant van de medaille - is werkbesparing zonder meer iets goeds? hoe definieer je 'toename van de productiviteit'? er zijn heel wat vragen te stellen bij dit soort stellingen. Zeker wanneer dit soort zaken samengaan in een context van concurrentie en competitie. ]
"Altogether, the industrial revolution represents the beginning of what the great economist Simon Kuznets defined as 'modern economic growth', that is, a continuous, self-sustaining growth in product per capita, which contrasted with the slow and hesitating progress characteristic of preindustrial economies; it was accompanied by deep structural change. Fluctuations did not disappear, of course, but they were less sharp than in 'old-type' cycles. Once started, moreover, modern growth has no end: it is built into the economy as its normal condition. Indeed, there has been continuity in technological change since the late eighteenth century, with the succession of innovations that started then still progressing without any significant interruption."(104-105)
[Let op de waarden en normen die hier stiekem uitgesproken worden ... Groei wordt hier ook bijzonder eenzijdig opgevat als een cijfertje in een statistiek.]
"I am thus proposing an interpretation of the industrial revolution that is from the supply side and technologically driven. It belongs to the 'technological school' (Mokyr 1993), for which technology is the crux, the major source of rising productivity. "(105)
Crouzet accepteert het idee dat er geen sprake was van een revolutie in die zin dat alles plotsklaps anders was: er was sprake van een graduele verandering. Maar uiteindelijk ontstond wel een situatie die fundamenteel anders was dan de eerdere situatie. Crouzet accepteert dat er een klassensamenleving ontstond, maar gelooft niet in het idee van marxisten over 'de toenemende ellende van de arbeidersklassen':
"As for industrial workers and the 'lower orders' at large, debates have raged about changes in their standard of living during the industrial revolution. Despite an undoubted rise in average incomes per capita, many historians have maintained that the working classes’ standard of living did not improve and even deteriorated. This fits, of course, with the Marxist concept of immiserization of the people under capitalism. There is no doubt, in fact, that working hours were long, that factory discipline was harsh, and that women and young children were employed in large numbers under shocking conditions. Moreover, the environment in which most people lived was unhealthy: in fast-growing industrial towns, most dwellings were slums, sanitation was poor or ab- sent, and pollution was serious. This 'pessimist' view has been supported by the work of Jeffrey G. Williamson (1985), who demonstrated that 'British capitalism did breed inequality', in accordance with Kuznets’s famous curve, from 1760 until the 1860s (inequality declined modestly afterward). This drift was a product of forces associated with the industrial revolution, especially unbalanced productivity advances and savings on unskilled labor supply. Moreover, the wars in which Britain was engaged, especially from 1793 to 1815, entailed a heavy commitment of resources to military purposes, the crowding out of productive investment by government borrowing, plus sharp rises in the cost of necessities; they tended therefore to inhibit improvements in standards of living. Nonetheless, after 1820, real wages undoubtedly rose, and sharply for unskilled labor, so that the 'pessimist' view is not now sustainable; there was no general immiserization, and eventually an improvement. But it is difficult to generalize on such problems. Some groups of workers (especially hand-loom weavers) suffered; there was a large 'underclass' of destitute people; periodic downswings during business cycles caused large-scale hardship. Even so, though terrible by present norms, the working classes’ standard of living was higher in Britain than in continental countries, as there was a clear positive correlation between degrees of industrialization and real incomes (see table 3.3, below)."(110)
[Een heel merkwaardige uitleg. Alsof een hoger inkomen als factor genoeg is om te kunnen zeggen dat de ellende niet toenam of zo. Wat dan als de kosten voor levensonderhoud nog meer toenamen dan het inkomen? Wat dan met alle andere ellende die niet in geld is uit te drukken zoals de mensonterende arbeids- en leefomstandigheden? Wat een arrogante eenzijdigheid.]
Volgt een lang stuk waarin aandacht besteed wordt aan de vraag waarom de Industriële Revolutie in Engeland begon en niet elders. Dezelfde ontwikkeling verspreidden zich pas later op regionaal heel verschillende manieren over heel Europa.
"A second point is that Britain fulfilled most of the conditions for economic growth and innovativeness, conditions set by the neoinstitutionalist school that stress political elements. England had a contractual monarchy, a Parliament controlled by and for an aristocracy for whom security of property was an absolute priority and who had personal interests in promoting economic development; thus, the state was unable to renege upon its financial obligations, and public order was strictly maintained, particularly against those in the lower orders who resisted innovation. Strangely enough, English aristocratic governments followed policies that created the most efficient market economy in Europe. Britain also had a stable legal framework, secure civil liberties, and safe contracts. Property rights were well defined and protected, and the free play of market forces was institutionalized; this allowed the necessary mobility of factors and increased inequality in income distribution. England also stood apart as the country of laissez-faire (with little regulation of industry, a unique degree of freedom for entrepreneurs), though not of laissez- passer (it was staunchly protectionist). And its government, though 'small', was strong; it invested heavily in sea power and in aggressive foreign and military policies, which, in the view of Patrick O’Brien (1991), a view I share, contributed to the progress of the economy and also to the weakening and eventual destruction of Britain’s rivals; the Royal Navy was a contributor to the industrial revolution!"(114)
[Dit zijn dus de voorwaarden voor economische groei? In feite zegt Crouzet dat. Met andere woorden:wanneer je een voorstander bent van economische groei dan ben je ook een voorstander van de beschreven politieke en maatschappelijke verhoudingen. Geen wonder dat ik niet van 'economische groei' houd ...]
"The European economy of 1913 was a capitalist economy where free enterprise prevailed and which the market’s invisible hand was regulating, conditions that were thought to lead to optimal allocation of resources, so that governments did not follow activist policies to promote growth. Altogether, state intervention was limited, state-owned (or -run) undertakings rather rare (consisting mainly of dockyards, some railroad networks, mail, and telecommunications). There was little social spending other than primary education. Government expenditures and taxes were therefore low: by 1913 (despite the armaments race), total government expenditure in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands was, on average, 12 percent of GDP. On the other hand, Europe had not entered the stage of monopoly capitalism, as Marxists contended: the system remained highly competitive — except for some cartels and a few monopolies; the family firm was everywhere dominant. The concept of financial capitalism, that is, the dominance of the economy by a handful of giant banks, was also inappropriate, even in Germany and Austria, which had inspired it. This system was working efficiently, but its equilibrium was nicely balanced and therefore fragile. World War I was to destroy the balance — and the European dominance over the world’s economy. Admittedly, Marxist writers maintain that capitalism was responsible for the war, because of rivalries among capitalist powers, which contended for markets for their industries and investment opportunities for their surplus capital, and especially because of the conflict between Britain, the established hegemon, and Germany, which wanted to supersede it or at least to reach parity. Actually, however, things were much more complex. War resulted mainly from precapitalist survivals in Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia, plus an unreasonable British quest for absolute security, and the weakness of France relative to Germany."(167)
[Tot aan WO I was alles in balans, zegt Crouzet. Dat is zelfs een naïef standpunt wanneer je zoals Crouzet hier doet in abstracties blijft hangen. Hoe stond het overal met de leef- en werkomstandigheden van de arbeiders? Hoe stond het met de inkomensverschillen tussen de klassen en de armoede? Hoe stond het met de agressieve kolonisatie van andere landen? Hoeveel ellende en doden leverde die balans op? Hoeveel ging er verloren aan natuur? Hoeveel zinloze producten werden er geproduceerd? Hoeveel kansen misten de overheden door zo weinig geld te stoppen in de opbouw van de samenleving en de ontwikkeling van menselijke mogelijkheden?]
De twee wereldoorlogen maakten dat de leidende rol van Europa op economisch vlak kon worden overgenomen door de Verenigde Staten.
[Wat verklaard dan dat de economische depressie van 1929 en de jaren erna in de VS grotere gevolgen had dan in Europa?]
"This is not the place for an interpretation of the depression and its long duration. There is a consensus that it originated in the disruptions and imbalances of the international economic system that World War I and the peace settlement had caused, and in the mistaken policies that were followed in the 1920s. The fragility of the international system that had been reconstructed in that decade (the gold exchange standard), and to which most countries were committed, and the fragility of the banking system were crucial if not decisive."(180)
[Die analyse is juist geweldig belangrijk natuurlijk. Waarom er voor weglopen? ]
"The interwar years saw transition between liberalism and interventionism by the state, which greatly increased. During World War I, governments had intervened in their economies to an unprecedented extent, in order to mobilize resources, organize, and enhance the production of armaments; controls such as the rationing of basic foodstuffs and the freezing of prices and rents were established. In the 1920s, however, a return to the prewar liberal order prevailed, and most wartime controls were soon dismantled. The depression brought a complete change: liberalism was discredited, the anarchy of the market was denounced, and the apparent failure of capitalism and free enterprise raised loud demands for dirigisme and planning. State intervention progressed in almost all countries, including democracies, but it was the most extensive under authoritarian regimes."(187-188)
[Die terugkeer naar liberale principes bleek dus niet zo'n goed idee, zou ik zeggen. 'The apparent failure of capitalism' - in welke betekenis van 'apparent' denkt Crouzet hier: 'klaarblijkelijk' of 'schijnbaar'? Ik vermoed het laatste.]
"Bairoch has rightly stressed that the idea of a general depression during the 1930s is wrong: out of nineteen European countries, twelve had, in 1938, a GNP per capita that was higher than in 1929. Unemployment had retreated and was lower than in the United States. Obviously, by 1939, Europe had progressed toward adapting to the new economic environment: old industries had contracted, new ones had expanded — though basically to supply home markets (yet some ground had been regained on overseas markets). Still, much fixed capital was obsolescent (its average age was higher than in 1914), productivity was often low, there was a great deal of rigidity or even arteriosclerosis, and there were too many depressed areas. Moreover, Europe had economically disintegrated. The free movement of people, goods, and capital that had been achieved before 1914 had ceased (by the late 1930s, the average ratio of capital outflows to national income, for twelve countries, was 1.5 percent, versus 4–5 percent before 1914). Economic nationalism was increasingly turning into isolationism, as each country tried to live an independent existence. Even Britain had turned away from Europe and toward its empire. Economists deplore this development, but this setback was of small import in relation to the new war that broke out."(195-196)
WO II bracht nog meer schade toe dan WO I, maar deze keer herstelde Europa zich krachtig, ondanks zelfs het verlies van overzeese rijksdelen door de dekolonisatiebeweging.
"How are we to explain this achievement? Of great importance were the European people’s great efforts to get out of the dreadful poverty into which they had fallen, and their acceptance of necessary sacrifices. Second, some of the mistakes that had been made after 1918 were not repeated. The Western powers did not impose reparations upon Germany, they gave up some plans to weaken permanently its economic power (as it was realized that the rest of Europe was dependent upon it), and in 1949 they admitted the new Federal Republic into the family of democratic countries; the Russians, meanwhile, thoroughly plundered East Germany. The United States, for its part, canceled the enormous debts its Allies owed it. Third, the strident economic nationalism of the 1930s did not survive the war: international cooperation was established in the West, and — this was decisive — the United States granted massive aid to Western European countries (while the nuclear umbrella, under the North At- lantic Treaty of 1949, gave security against Soviet aggression)."(202)
"After this digression, we shall return to economics and to Europe in the years 1950 to 1973. This time is often called the golden age, a period of supergrowth, of unparalleled prosperity, of 'miracles' (a somewhat misleading word, and one not to be reserved for Germany: there was certainly an Italian miracolo); the French speak of 'years of glory'. Indeed, this was an exceptional, unique episode in the economic history of modern Europe, one that contrasts with both the period 1913–1950 and the years since 1973. After underperforming, economies overperformed; the Soviet Union and its satellites also did well (see below; in this section, only 'capitalist' Europe will be considered), but high growth was a distinctly European phenomenon, as North America grew more slowly, and the Pacific Rim was only starting to develop."(205)
"On the other hand, the gap in incomes and standards of living between Europe and the Third World had greatly widened. Needless to say, many explanations of the golden age have been put forward, but they leave many loose ends, as it is demonstrated in an important book edited by Nicholas Crafts and Gianni Toniolo."(207)
Met de oliecrisis van 1973 kwam er een eind aan deze periode van voorspoed.
[En zo verder. De rest van dit laatste hoofdstuk wordt gevuld met eindeloze reeksen cijfers en weinig diepgaande analyse.]