Socio-Economic History

Vol. 77, No. 2

Yoshio FUJII
The formation of the fiscal system in the Burgundian state: an introduction

Since the second half of the1980s, European historians, French historians in particular, have examined the ‘Genesis of the Modern State’ in several research fields. Among them, economic historians have been concerned especially with such themes as ‘levies and redistributions’ and ‘city, bourgeois, and state’, which are inevitably related to the subject of ‘prosopography’ or of ‘elites’.

We discuss here, from the viewpoint of the formation of a fiscal state, the financial and fiscal institutions and the organizations, and the interests between the principalities and the local authorities in the Burgundian state. This is because the Burgundian state consisted of southern territories, such as the duchy and the county of Burgundy (Franche-Comté), and of northern counties, such as the Netherlands, and has therefore been regarded as a typical mosaic state of late medieval Europe. Analytical considerations by three panelists contribute to the main theme, ‘Genesis of the Modern State’.


Yoichiro HANADA
Nicolas de Fontenay, royal and ducal official of finance for France and Burgundy: his social successes and fortune

This paper concerns the life of Nicolas de Fontenay, an official who played an important part in the foundation of financial institutions in the Burgundian state under the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Bold, during the second half of the 15th century.

Nicolas de Fontenay began his career in Troyes, a town of the Champagne fairs, and became a royal financial (especially salt tax) official. He later became the royal bailiff of Troyes, royal councilor, and treasurer of France in 1380, head of France’s Royal Ordinary Finance, despite the fact that he continued as ducal treasurer, head of Burgundy’s financial administration between 1379 and 1391.

Taking advantage of the three high offices he held in France’s central administration and the high office he simultaneously held with the state of Burgundy, Nicolas de Fontenay was able to directly exploit French resources, through gifts and pensions, in order to increase ducal revenues. The Burgundian state, accordingly, was able to prosper as a result of its financial connections with France. Nicolas de Fontenay was also able to amass a large private fortune as a result of the salary and generous annual pension he received. He largely invested this fortune in land. The de Fontenay family lineage, however, died out within two generations.


The career of Jean Chousat, governor of saltworks of the Grande-Saunerie of Salins: administration of the saltworks and finance of the Burgundian state

The territory of the Burgundian state mostly comprised of two groups of principalities. Indeed, the acquisition of the northern principalities, the Low Countries, where the textile industry and international trading were developed, was crucial for the destiny of the state. But, even in the southern principalities, mainly the two Burgundies (Burgundy and Franche-Comté), where rural economy was dominant, the duke acquired one of the most famous saltworks in Europe, Grande-Saunerie of Salins in Franche-Comté. The possession of this saltworks gradually influenced the economy and politics in the southern principalities. For at that time, the notorious salt tax (gabelle) was introduced in Burgundy on the right bank of the Saône (the border of the kingdom of France). Therefore, the salt warehouses (greniers à sel) as bases for taxation and control of circulation of salt were established by the duke, and the provision of salt became an urgent issue.

In this paper, by elucidating when and how Jean Chousat of Poligny (a town in Franche-Comté), who had been an official in the central administration of finance, took up the relatively new chief post of governor of saltworks (pardessus), the author illustrates the importance of the administration of saltworks and salt warehouses in the finance of the state.


Naomi HATA
The negotiation and levy of the subsidies in Flanders under Burgundian rule

Subsidies from Flanders, one of the most economically developed regions in northern Europe, were of great significance for the finances of the dukes of Burgundy. When they wanted to impose any subsidies on Flanders, however, they needed the consent of the Four Members of Flanders: the deputies from three great cities and the rural district of the Franc, which is a castellany. When the first duke, Philip the Bold, could not raise much money from the Members, John the Fearless entered into the fiscal partnership with the Members, who themselves wanted to tax the other Flemish communities, and negotiated with the duke’s government to accept their various requests in exchange for their consent to the subsidies.

However, the finances of each community had to bear more and more subsidies. Compared to great cities like Bruges, which had various financial resources, the rural district Franc was forced to impose a greater tax on each household in order to collect the amount to be paid as subsidies. The rural inhabitants therefore tried to acquire citizenship of Bruges so that they could avoid being levied by the Franc. This caused much conflict between Bruges and the Franc and changed the state of Flemish society on the local level.


The relationship between labour management rationalization and industry-level business relations: a case study of the Japanese steel industry

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the connection between labour management rationalization and industry-level business relationships by examining the introduction of the job-based wage systems (shokumu kyu) adopted simultaneously by Japan’s three major steel companies (Yawata Steel, Fuji Steel, and Nippon Kokan) in 1962.

In the steel industry, job-based wage systems were adopted to resolve the problem of rapid technological change undermining the morale of young workers, who thought that seniority-based wage systems suppressed their wages unfairly. However, introduction of the new wage system proved difficult because unions feared that it would lead to stronger wage restraint. Had a single company introduced a job-based pay scheme, it might have been at a competitive disadvantage if the scheme had generated labour-management conflict. Therefore, the three companies introduced job-based pay systems simultaneously. Under the leadership of Yawata Steel, which then exercised strong influence over the industry’s personnel and labour management practices, the major firms were able to closely coordinate the introduction of new wage systems.

While most previous research has explained labour management rationalization from the internal dynamics of particular companies, this case study demonstrates that industry-level relationships were also crucial to workplace-level outcomes.


Takeshi AOKI
Returnees and agrarian emigrants in postwar rural communities in Japan, 1945-1956: a case study of Igara village, Shimoina district, Nagano prefecture

This paper aims to analyze the treatment of returnees from former Japanese colonies and agrarian emigrants (kaitaku nomin) after World War II in conjunction with the restart of postwar rural communities.

This paper examines Kami-Tonooka and Shimo-Tonooka districts, Igara village. In both districts for which the treatment of returnees was a difficult problem, each farming household successfully adjusted the imbalance between the size of each household and the size of its cultivated plot by exchanging plots among neighborhood association (kousei kumiai) members during the land reform. In contrast, the returnees to the districts were outsiders who hardly had any connections through which they could obtain land to return to a life of farming, and as a result, most of them were forced to emigrate from the districts.

After the land reform, the Igara Village Gazette carried information promoting emigration, including a piece on the local economy by a returnee, based on his experiences in Manchuria, which also encouraged emigration. The agrarian emigrants, which consisted of small farming households and collateral household members from the settled villages, as well as returnees, were basically abandoned by their communities and were forced to emigrate again to seek livelihoods elsewhere.


Financial audit and debt discipline in interwar Japan

This paper examines the actual conditions and aims of financial audit in interwar Japan from the perspective of debt discipline. Previous research considers the relationship between financial audit and accountant’s code, but they do not refer to their actual conditions and aims. This paper reveals that before the accountant’s code of 1927, Japanese financial institutions and foreign underwriters entrusted the accounting professions to the audit of such enterprises as electric power companies and electric railway companies, which were heavily in debt. The accounting professions continuously monitored the accounting report of these companies. The Japanese financial institutions and foreign underwriters intervened in the management of such enterprises that were in deep financial difficulties, reduced their dividend rates, and made them revise their account processing (debt discipline). Their intervention was based on the accounting profession’s opinion. A reduction in the dividend rates of these companies affected their credit protection. In contrast, these companies and stockholders did not need financial audit because they had no incentives to reduce their dividends and benefit rates.


Kiyoko OGA
A study of the conditions of female handloom weavers in Lancashire Preston, England, during the Industrial Revolution: analyzing the 1841 census enumerator’s books

In this paper, I study the condition of handloom weavers in about 1840 in Lancashire Preston, England. In several studies on the conditions of handloom weavers in England during the Industrial Revolution, handloom weaving is considered a steadily declining industry. In addition, handloom weavers were believed to be mainly male, and female labour was subordinate to male work.

As a result of my investigation into their livelihood in the early 19th century, which was recorded in the 1841 census enumerator’s books, two important points were discovered. First, in about 1840, handloom weavers participated in producing high-quality goods, indicating that handloom weaving had not declined. Second, half of the labour in the power-loom and handloom sections was female. In addition, some female handloom weavers earned higher incomes than males.

From these findings, it can be concluded that female labour occupied a position equal to male labour in the cotton industry. These results suggest that traditional industries were as central as modern industries were during the Industrial Revolution, and from this point of view, our understanding of the transformation of the English cotton industry during the Industrial Revolution should be re-considered.