64, No. 5
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.
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.
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.
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.