Socio-Economic History

Vol. 64, No. 5

Masahiro OGIYAMA
Domestic servants in the early stages of Japan's industrialization, 1878-1906

In the early stages of Japan's industrialization, the increased demand for labor in industry caused a labor shortage in domestic service. Nevertheless, domestic servants remained a large occupational group. The aim of this paper is to show how families were able to continue to employ domestic servants through a case study of the Hiroumi family, merchants specializing in fertilizers and rice in the Sennan district of Osaka Prefecture.

The Hiroumi family normally employed three to four live-in servants. Most were girls not yet independent from their parents, who were the ultimate recipients of their wages. They were recruited from the poorer families of the neighboring areas.

On the eve of industrialization in the 1880s, the cotton-weaving indus-try had already developed as a cottage industry throughout the Sennan district. Parents were able to put their daughters to work as weavers at home instead of sending them away to domestic service. However, the latter was more profitable for them, and therefore it was easy for employers to hire domestic help.

But the situation changed after industrialization began in the 1890s. A cotton-spinning mill built in the Sennan district was willing to employ large numbers of local girls at high wages. In addition, the weaving industry began to flourish owing to a sharp rise in the demand for cotton cloth. It was clearly more advantageous for parents to send daughters to the spinning mill to work, or keep them at home weaving, rather than put them into domestic service. The Hiroumi family was faced with a labor shortage.

Employers of domestic servants immediately took countermeasures, such as raising wages, or offering improved payment systems. Although it was not as easy to hire and retain workers as in the past, the Hiroumi family was still able to employ as many domestic servants as it needed.

Yoshifumi SAITO
Child labour in Alsace at the time of the industrial revolution: French industrialists and the Child Labour Law of 1841

The Child Labour Law of 1841 is the first case of state intervention found in nineteenth-century French economic liberalism. However, its special significance lies in the fact that the impetus for the law came from a movement formed by industrialists. The object of this article is to examine the meaning of the law for Alsatian industrialists, who took a leading role in the movement.

First of all, a clear difference concerning the justification for state intervention on this issue can be observed between the industrialists who argued that legislation was necessary, and those in parliament who actually got the law passed. The industrialists, who belonged to the paternalistic Societe Industrielle de Mulhouse, intended to establish a new social order based on industrialization. For them, the 1841 law represented a partial transfer of company welfare policy to the state and a modification of the laissez-faire system of free competition. On the other hand, the main advocates of the law in parliament were influenced by Social Catholicism and sought to restore traditional rural society. They saw the law as a social guarantee which would protect child workers from all sorts of harm.

From the viewpoint of the industrialists, the significance of the 1841 law can be summarized as follows: the regulation of factory labour meant the revival of the working-class family and ensured a good supply of adult workers in the future. Controls on child labour were also expected to bring about uniform conditions in production activities and guarantee reasonable profits. A peculiarity of the 1841 law therefore lies in the fact that a social policy intended to stabilize the formation of the labour force was linked to an interventionalist economic policy intended to establish a just system of competition according to the principles of economic liberalism.

Urbanization and the construction industry in late-nineteenth century Russia: a case study of St Petersburg

In Russia, a period of rapid industrialization and urbanization followed the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. In this paper, the development of construction industry in St Petersburg is investigated.

First, the general relationship between urbanization and construction is surveyed. The growth in population experienced by late nineteenth-century Petersburg stimulated demand for house construction and the public amenities necessary to urban life. Demand grew in the late 1890s after the depression of the 1880s. The type of building also underwent a gradual change, from small-scale wooden houses to large-scale brick ones, with running water, gas and/or electricity.

These changes affected the social composition of construction workers and the industrial organization. There was a large increase in the number of year-round workers between the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. New types of organization also emerged. In the 1890s in particular, construction companies and artel' (workers' associations) appeared alongside the traditional podriadchiki (contractors) and tsekhi (guilds). As businesses grew in scale and the proportion of administrative staff increased, business organizations became more complex and the self-employed had to struggle to survive. However, it is important to note here that the construction industry contained a variety of occupational categories, and that these developed in different ways.

An examination of actual cases of construction makes the connection between specific occupations and types of organization clear. While traditional brickwork and plastering were undertaken by podriadchiki, newer skills, such as working with concrete, plumbing or elevator-installation, were the domain of construction companies. In other words, new technology was mainly introduced by construction companies. The growing demand in the construction industry led to a speeding up of construction work, and this in turn brought about an increase in workers and the growth of business organizations.

Estimates of real wages and consumption in England at the end of the eighteenth century

This article offers an alternative approach to the investigation of the material life of wage labourers in eighteenth-century England. The emphasis will be on the importance of 'income in kind' in assessing the standard of living of agricultural labourers. In other words, it will be argued that the non-monetary aspects of income should be included when calculating living standards. First, evidence from contemporary literature, using figures from family budgets and wage surveys, indicates that Engel's coefficient of workers was very high (over 73%), and moreover that expenditure on food was income elastic. Secondly, 'income in kind' amounted to 26% of the average wage rate without board, and was equivalent to 20% of the average family income. Finally, when allowance is made for 'income in kind', the regional variance in wage rates becomes wider than previous estimates have indicated.

Until recently, most estimates of workers' living standards have been based solely on calculations of the real wage rates of adult males. However, during the last decade, this approach has been criticised. For example, wage rates do not reveal annual income levels because they do not take into consideration under-employment or seasonal unemployment. Similarly, it is not possible to talk about household income if the earnings of women and children are ignored. The present article calls attention to the fact that workers in the eighteenth-century had many non-monetary alternative sources with which to supplement their livelihood. For example, they could collect peat, or graze livestock on communally owned pasture.

While the existence of 'income in kind' is broadly acknowledged, few efforts have been made to investigate its impact on the overall standard of living of agricultural labourers.