Proposal preview

Subsistence, sustenance, and changing living spaces: Comparative studies of Eurasian economies from the 16th to the 20th centuries

Early modern economic historians including medieval historians have for a long time discussed transformation periods toward modernization, naming them “Feudalism to Capitalism,” “Proto-Industrialization,” “Industrious Revolution” and “Industrial Revolution,” and “Transition from an Organic Economy to an Industrial Revolution.” Such empirical studies and the methodologies and theories, with the exception of debates on “Labor-Intensive Industrialization,” were mostly adapted to analyze transitions in most economically developed countries (=MEDCs), especially Europe and Japan, but have failed to explain the latest global transition, which we call the emergence of a “fossil-fuel-based world economy,” initiated among MEDCs, and spreading to less economically developed countries (=LEDCs) and later to developing countries.
A clear difference between modern economy and modern globalized economy is that the latter embraces scientific/socio-technological knowledge development and global interdependency for using fossil fuel energies. The globalized fossil fuel economy appeared in the latter half of the 19th century and continues to dramatically change the present world. It is one of decisive causes of global warming and other environmental problems.
Given the fundamental contributions of natural, ecological and environmental histories since the 1960s, early modern and modern economic historians should reconsider and jointly discuss the developmental phases from an agricultural society to an industrialized/colonialized society and finally to a post-industrial low-carbon society, which should be a common global goal for societies today. It is an opportune time for an epochal collaboration, with early modern economic historians beginning to discuss “integrated peasant economy” and modern economic historians starting to engage in “ecological and sustainable economies” for developing countries and developed countries.
The session is open to empirical, theoretical or interpretative contributions from all parts of Eurasian economies. Paper givers should have a focus on energy resources, in particular, either in a comparative perspective, or with respect to compare early modern, modern and globalized times. Single-community studies over the long-term are also welcome, especially for areas that have previously been unexplored.
While the session aims to combine early modern, modern and globalized times and to compare MEDCs and LEDCs, proposals covering other areas of the world are also welcome as they would help expand our goals and contribute to future visions of low-carbon global societies.

Organizer(s)

  • Satoshi Murayama Kagawa University muras@ed.kagawa-u.ac.jp Japan
  • Sayako Kanda Keio University saykanda@gmail.com Japan
  • Aleksander Panjek University of Primorska aleksander.panjek@fhs.upr.si Slovenia
  • Žarko Lazarević Institute of Contemporary History zarko.lazarevic@guest.arnes.si Slovenia

Session members

  • Satoshi Murayama, Kagawa University
  • Sayako Kanda, Keio University
  • Aleksander Panjek, University of Primorska
  • Žarko Lazarević, Institute of Contemporary History
  • Miyuki Takahashi, Rissho University
  • Luca Mocarelli, The University of Milano- Bicocca
  • Jesper Larsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Mats Morell, Uppsala University
  • Josef Grulich, University of South Bohemia
  • Haruhisa Asada, Nara Women's University
  • Laitpharlang Cajee, North Eastern Hill University
  • Noriko Yuzawa, University of Tsukuba
  • Hiroko Nakamura, Kagawa University

Discussant(s)

  • Osamu Saito Hitotsubashi University O-Saito@ier.hit-u.ac.jp
  • Guido Alfani Università Bocconi guido.alfani@unibocconi.it

Papers

Panel abstract

The pre-modern world has two aspects. “Pre-modern” is understood as: 1) a transition period to a modern fossil energy society; and 2) the end of a period of at least hundreds of years when agricultural societies used a limited amount of fossil energy. For the future establishment of sustainable societies in every locality and region of the world, it should be necessary to re-examine such traditional modernization theories mostly derived from evolutional historical understandings. Given the fundamental contributions of natural, ecological and environmental histories since the 1960s, it is an opportune time for an epochal collaboration, with early modern economic historians beginning to discuss organic multiple economies and modern economic historians starting to engage in ecological / sustainable economies for developing countries and developed countries.

1st half

Integrated Peasant Economy: a Concept Proposal in a Comparative Perspective

Aleksander Panjek

In many European regions the peasant holdings were not sufficient to provide the necessary means of subsistence to their households. The basic assumption here is that different income sources (from the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors) were part of a comprehensive economic strategy, in which peasants exploited the opportunities of access to alternative activities, and that the peasant economy based on income integration is to be regarded as a whole, as a system. We called such system “Integrated peasant economy” (IPE), defining it through seven main characters (Panjek, Larsson, Mocarelli 2016). In order to assess its presence and allow comparability a checklist was constructed. This paper aims at presenting the IPE concept and especially to further verify whether it is applicable to Asian case-studies, as well.

In many European regions the peasant holdings were not sufficient to provide the necessary means of subsistence to their households. The basic assumption here is that different income sources (from the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors) were part of a comprehensive economic strategy, in which peasants exploited the opportunities of access to alternative activities, and that the peasant economy based on income integration is to be regarded as a whole, as a system. We called such system “Integrated peasant economy” (IPE), defining it through seven main characters (Panjek, Larsson, Mocarelli 2016). In order to assess its presence and allow comparability a checklist was constructed. This paper aims at presenting the IPE concept and especially to further verify whether it is applicable to Asian case-studies, as well.

Local diversity and changing organic economies during the Industrial Revolution: Otagi, Kyoto, Japan, 1880-1908

Satoshi Murayama, Hiroko Nakamura

The Industrial Revolution was a complex process of environmental and geographical changes in the relationship between humanity and nature. Before the Industrial Revolution, high levels of inequality were observed in England and India, whereas low levels of inequality were seen in early modern Japan. However, the findings of this paper could suggest that even in egalitarian societies we should not ignore the existence of regional and local diversity amid economic inequality. Otagi, a county in Kyoto, Japan, had a relatively high level of economic inequality in around 1880. Using a topography containing economic and social details dating back to 1908, near the end of the Japanese Industrial Revolution, a comparison of the two periods reveals drastic changes and transformations in local histories, especially in household formation and composition. The process of the Industrial Revolution was not a simple economic process, but a combination of segmented processes, observed particularly in changing...

The Industrial Revolution was a complex process of environmental and geographical changes in the relationship between humanity and nature. Before the Industrial Revolution, high levels of inequality were observed in England and India, whereas low levels of inequality were seen in early modern Japan. However, the findings of this paper could suggest that even in egalitarian societies we should not ignore the existence of regional and local diversity amid economic inequality. Otagi, a county in Kyoto, Japan, had a relatively high level of economic inequality in around 1880. Using a topography containing economic and social details dating back to 1908, near the end of the Japanese Industrial Revolution, a comparison of the two periods reveals drastic changes and transformations in local histories, especially in household formation and composition. The process of the Industrial Revolution was not a simple economic process, but a combination of segmented processes, observed particularly in changing organic economies in a geographical context.

The transformation of the migratory strategies of the rural population during the second half of the eighteenth century. A case study of the royal town and estate of České Budějovice (Budweis)

Josef Grulich

The research is based on the protocols that allowed subjects to legally move from their place of residence and also from the jurisdiction of their landlords. Combining these certificates called “release letters” with parish registers, a prosopographical database has been created containing a representative sample of a 1073 cases of the mobility. The excerption has been derived from the sources for 50 villages. The period of 1750-1800 has been chosen in order to study the influence of the industrialization and urbanization of the Czech Lands and the impact of the abolition of subjects´ servitude in 1781. On the base of the analysed sources not only general trends but also the destiny and motivation of particular people have been uncovered.

The research is based on the protocols that allowed subjects to legally move from their place of residence and also from the jurisdiction of their landlords. Combining these certificates called “release letters” with parish registers, a prosopographical database has been created containing a representative sample of a 1073 cases of the mobility. The excerption has been derived from the sources for 50 villages. The period of 1750-1800 has been chosen in order to study the influence of the industrialization and urbanization of the Czech Lands and the impact of the abolition of subjects´ servitude in 1781. On the base of the analysed sources not only general trends but also the destiny and motivation of particular people have been uncovered.

The possibilities and limits of a household based organic industrial development: A Scandinavian case

Mats Morell

One interpretation of industrial development of Western society has focused on the command of fossil energy. With the low yields of European agriculture, and use of wood for heating and industrial processes, land scarcity would quickly have braked any long term economic growth on that continent, in absence of coal. But what about regions with huge per capita forest and water power resources, which took part in the interregional division of labor? How far could a household-based industrialization process using organic energy reach? This paper shall explore this using the case of Scandinavian (Swedish) proto-iron industry, which acquired European market leadership in the 17th century. Energy-wise it rested on charcoal far into the 20th century, despite modernized processes. Labor-wise it was based, on the work of peasant households, for which the transport work and charcoal making for iron companies remained a vital ingredient in an "integrated peasant economy."

One interpretation of industrial development of Western society has focused on the command of fossil energy. With the low yields of European agriculture, and use of wood for heating and industrial processes, land scarcity would quickly have braked any long term economic growth on that continent, in absence of coal. But what about regions with huge per capita forest and water power resources, which took part in the interregional division of labor? How far could a household-based industrialization process using organic energy reach? This paper shall explore this using the case of Scandinavian (Swedish) proto-iron industry, which acquired European market leadership in the 17th century. Energy-wise it rested on charcoal far into the 20th century, despite modernized processes. Labor-wise it was based, on the work of peasant households, for which the transport work and charcoal making for iron companies remained a vital ingredient in an "integrated peasant economy."

Traditional Pottery Making in North East India: A Summary of Larnai Village, Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya

Laitpharlang Cajee, Monica Mawlong

Northeast India is one of the most diverse areas in terms of illustrating the relationship between man and the environment throughout the ages. Even though the region is rich for research in various fields of empirical science, it has been unable to gain importance in the field of pottery. Pottery has generally been given preference in assigning a site to a specific culture. Analysis all over the globe has primarily focused on style and context of disposal, and only to a lesser extent on use and the transmission of knowledge, preservation of culture and developing pottery products that suit environmental standards and compatibility. This paper aims to provide an overview of pottery making in Northeast India and to give a summary specifically on the people of Larnai village who are involved in traditional pottery making and also to explore the features of Larnai Pottery.

Northeast India is one of the most diverse areas in terms of illustrating the relationship between man and the environment throughout the ages. Even though the region is rich for research in various fields of empirical science, it has been unable to gain importance in the field of pottery. Pottery has generally been given preference in assigning a site to a specific culture. Analysis all over the globe has primarily focused on style and context of disposal, and only to a lesser extent on use and the transmission of knowledge, preservation of culture and developing pottery products that suit environmental standards and compatibility. This paper aims to provide an overview of pottery making in Northeast India and to give a summary specifically on the people of Larnai village who are involved in traditional pottery making and also to explore the features of Larnai Pottery.

Living spaces of ethnic groups and their relationship with ecological environment in Assam, India

Haruhisa Asada

In Assam State in northeastern India, close to the Southeast Asian and the Tibetan world, many ethnic groups with different cultural backgrounds historically migrated here from different directions to form the multiethnic society. Conflicts sometimes occurs between different ethnic groups and religions, leading the delay of economic development in this area. While previous studies have mainly focused on the conflicts or negative aspects of the multiethnic society, few have revealed daily activities or livelihood of local people. Most people in Assam regardless of his ethnicity are engaged in the primary industry and depend on the ecological environment more or less. Therefore, in this study, relationships of various ethnic groups in Assam are revealed by examining their livelihood patterns and living spaces based on the ecological environment of the Brahmaputra river floodplain.

In Assam State in northeastern India, close to the Southeast Asian and the Tibetan world, many ethnic groups with different cultural backgrounds historically migrated here from different directions to form the multiethnic society. Conflicts sometimes occurs between different ethnic groups and religions, leading the delay of economic development in this area. While previous studies have mainly focused on the conflicts or negative aspects of the multiethnic society, few have revealed daily activities or livelihood of local people. Most people in Assam regardless of his ethnicity are engaged in the primary industry and depend on the ecological environment more or less. Therefore, in this study, relationships of various ethnic groups in Assam are revealed by examining their livelihood patterns and living spaces based on the ecological environment of the Brahmaputra river floodplain.

2nd half

“A Silent Revolution” in Early Modern Upland Sweden, the Transition to an Integrated Peasant Economy

Jesper Larsson

The seventeenth century was a time of profound change. In Europe, war raged the continent, the “little ace age” and numerous crop failures restrained agriculture and peasants’ livelihood. On the other hand, the century was the dawn of a global world that affected both production and consumption by ordinary people. Early modern upland areas were sensitive to external changes and the economy was fundamentally altered. By examining an upland region in Sweden this transformation is analyzed. Transformation of the economy was possible because of an increased use of common-pool resources (CPRs), i.e. woodland and mountains, and collective action. Similar to the “Silent Revolution” in medieval western Europe institutions for governance of CPRs and labor specializations emerged concomitantly. The transition created a peasant economy dependent on many income sources, i.e. an Integrated Peasant Economy. An economy that lasted to the end of the nineteenth century, succeeded finally by the industrial revolution.

The seventeenth century was a time of profound change. In Europe, war raged the continent, the “little ace age” and numerous crop failures restrained agriculture and peasants’ livelihood. On the other hand, the century was the dawn of a global world that affected both production and consumption by ordinary people. Early modern upland areas were sensitive to external changes and the economy was fundamentally altered. By examining an upland region in Sweden this transformation is analyzed. Transformation of the economy was possible because of an increased use of common-pool resources (CPRs), i.e. woodland and mountains, and collective action. Similar to the “Silent Revolution” in medieval western Europe institutions for governance of CPRs and labor specializations emerged concomitantly. The transition created a peasant economy dependent on many income sources, i.e. an Integrated Peasant Economy. An economy that lasted to the end of the nineteenth century, succeeded finally by the industrial revolution.

Life with Horses in Japan before Industrial Revolution

Miyuki Takahashi

Hayami pointed out that in early modern Japan before the Industrial Revolution, important production functions shifted from cattle / horses (capital) to men (labour). This is known as the "Industrious Revolution," where people worked intensively to utilize narrow arable land. However, the utilization of cattle / horses was still considered to be important in pre-modern society. In the Nihonmatsu domain of Northeastern Japan, horse-breeding was very important business. Horses were presented to the central government and were also used for transporting people and goods. The central government also required post towns to keep a given number of horses. Therefore, many households kept horses. In this paper, I will explain: 1) the horse breeding policy of the Nihonmatsu Domain; 2) how horses were utilized there; and 3) the trend of the number of horses in the possession of each household of Nihonmatsu domain.

Hayami pointed out that in early modern Japan before the Industrial Revolution, important production functions shifted from cattle / horses (capital) to men (labour). This is known as the "Industrious Revolution," where people worked intensively to utilize narrow arable land. However, the utilization of cattle / horses was still considered to be important in pre-modern society. In the Nihonmatsu domain of Northeastern Japan, horse-breeding was very important business. Horses were presented to the central government and were also used for transporting people and goods. The central government also required post towns to keep a given number of horses. Therefore, many households kept horses. In this paper, I will explain: 1) the horse breeding policy of the Nihonmatsu Domain; 2) how horses were utilized there; and 3) the trend of the number of horses in the possession of each household of Nihonmatsu domain.

The Privatisation of the Common Land in Lombardy in the 19th Century: a more rational exploitation or a failure damaging the environment?

Luca Mocarelli, Paolo Tedeschi

During the 19th century in Lombardy a relevant part of the common land was sold: the idea was that new private landlords could managed their properties better than public authorities and so they were able to improve the yields of pastures, woods and less fertile arable land. However, the public authorities underestimated the social and economic utility of common land and of rules organizing its exploitation. Some new landlords, who wanted a quick return for their investment, changed the main cultivation or over-exploited their new properties without considering the related negative effects on the future productions and on the environment. So, they did not improve yields: they instead caused some important environmental costs, in particular when they strongly reduced woods. The costs were superior to the loss of earning caused by the inefficient collective use of the land, moreover in the case of landslides and water-floods arriving in some valleys.

During the 19th century in Lombardy a relevant part of the common land was sold: the idea was that new private landlords could managed their properties better than public authorities and so they were able to improve the yields of pastures, woods and less fertile arable land. However, the public authorities underestimated the social and economic utility of common land and of rules organizing its exploitation. Some new landlords, who wanted a quick return for their investment, changed the main cultivation or over-exploited their new properties without considering the related negative effects on the future productions and on the environment. So, they did not improve yields: they instead caused some important environmental costs, in particular when they strongly reduced woods. The costs were superior to the loss of earning caused by the inefficient collective use of the land, moreover in the case of landslides and water-floods arriving in some valleys.

Structural changes in fertilizer circulation in modern Japan: Analysis based on the change in relationship between the use of night soil and the disposal of human waste

Noriko Yuzawa

This study examines structural changes in fertilizer circulation, focusing on the relationship with Japan's economic and social changes from the 19th to the 20th century. These changes can be explained by three factors caused by the shift from agricultural society to industrial society. The first is rapid urbanization, the second is rapid population growth, and the third is the introduction of chemical fertilizers. In the early modern economy, human waste was one of the most important agricultural materials. However, the increase in human waste caused by urbanization and the growing population became a social problem; and therefore, the government began to promote the disposal of human waste, regarding it as a matter of sanitation. As a result, farmers could no longer have free access to night soil. Nevertheless, night soil was still important in stabilizing the farmers’ economy in farming villages in Japan until the 1960’s.

This study examines structural changes in fertilizer circulation, focusing on the relationship with Japan's economic and social changes from the 19th to the 20th century. These changes can be explained by three factors caused by the shift from agricultural society to industrial society. The first is rapid urbanization, the second is rapid population growth, and the third is the introduction of chemical fertilizers. In the early modern economy, human waste was one of the most important agricultural materials. However, the increase in human waste caused by urbanization and the growing population became a social problem; and therefore, the government began to promote the disposal of human waste, regarding it as a matter of sanitation. As a result, farmers could no longer have free access to night soil. Nevertheless, night soil was still important in stabilizing the farmers’ economy in farming villages in Japan until the 1960’s.

Diversity of Energy Use in Modern India: Between Survival and Economic Development

Sayako Kanda

Monsoon Asia in general is characterised by the diversity of its flora and fauna, and an ideal environment for the survival of plants and animals in general. Therefore, various resources have been used as energy. Even after the ‘fossil-fuel-based world economy’ prospered from the late 19th century, Asia has employed diverse energy sources while promoting industrialization and supporting a growing population. Even today, many regions continue to use locally-available various types of non-fossil fuel. This cannot be necessarily discussed solely from the perspective of a ‘lower equilibrium’ due to delays and inequalities in the supply of fossil fuel. By taking up India’s case as an example, this paper explores the historical significance of energy diversity in Asia, instead of a teleological and linear understanding of energy conversion from non-fossil to fossil energy sources, which inevitably views that the emergence of industrialized societies as the result of such energy conversion.

Monsoon Asia in general is characterised by the diversity of its flora and fauna, and an ideal environment for the survival of plants and animals in general. Therefore, various resources have been used as energy. Even after the ‘fossil-fuel-based world economy’ prospered from the late 19th century, Asia has employed diverse energy sources while promoting industrialization and supporting a growing population. Even today, many regions continue to use locally-available various types of non-fossil fuel. This cannot be necessarily discussed solely from the perspective of a ‘lower equilibrium’ due to delays and inequalities in the supply of fossil fuel. By taking up India’s case as an example, this paper explores the historical significance of energy diversity in Asia, instead of a teleological and linear understanding of energy conversion from non-fossil to fossil energy sources, which inevitably views that the emergence of industrialized societies as the result of such energy conversion.