Feudal System

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8 Dec 2010
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Monday September 20th 2010
Melissa.levin@utoronto.ca Head TA
3 ways of organizing economy
Tradition: do things the same way its always been done (previous generations), no
Command: central planning, bureaucratic decisions are made (Soviet Union 5 years plan),
no room for change
Up until the 19th century, tradition and command were the two common
Feudal System is in the way of the market. System of hierarchy that determines that the
relationship between the lords and serfs were social obligation.
3 things that are important about the Feudal System:
1) Labour is not a commodity
- Serfs couldnt leave, exchange and didnt receive wages
2) Land is not a commodity
- Outside of its social context, where they lived, where they grew their food, they attached to
it socially and politically, couldnt sell it, not a source of wealth
3) Property is not a commodity
- Wealth was not turned into capital, not invested, spent on jewels/ spices/ products
Before the 18th century, open-field systems (low productivity)
General Enclosure Act of 1801: Lord takes land and privatizes it. Transforms birth right
into productive unit.
1) Land has to be privatized
2) Does not happen through the market, government passes laws that sides with the Lords,
government is instrumental secures private property
Why does this happen? Main reason is that it hasnt been relevant to have extra surplus.
Main incentive was increased land productivity (many inventions that made land more
productive), concentrated on very few people that continued to invest the land.
Inventions: seed drill, threshing machine, Rotherham plough
Selective breeding: crossing seeds to produce more strains.
Monday September 20th 2010
Agricultural Revolution is the massive increase of production of food also a pre-condition of
the Industrial Revolution.
There were a lot of important social and economic effects but mainly there were 2 that laid
the ground work for the Industrial Revolution:
1) Enclosure forced the people off the land, and created a labour force (turns both land and
people into commodity)
2) Increased food production, generates surplus of food that can feed factory workers
1750s 1850s Century long period where products were mechanized.
The first innovations were in textiles. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, entrepreneurs
provided poor families with raw materials.
Organization was inefficient.
Inventions: Hargeaves Spinning Jenny (1765)
Arkwrights Water Frame (1769) couldnt be powered by humans so factories were created.
The invention of power looms at the same time of the Industrial Revolution.
Britain was the first country to create a patent system.
If a person invented something, it could be legally protected and cannot be copied so they
can make money off their inventions. Patent system was a crucial condition of the
Industrial Revolution because it gave people incentives to invent new things.
Putting out system disappeared and was replaced with the factory system. Production was
done in small mills, served for local needs. Derby Silk Mill (1721). Mills employed children
and women.
Manchester was the first Industrial city.
Driven by coal mining.
All coal mining had one trait in common which was that movement of coal was only
accomplished by manpower.
Monday September 20th 2010
By 1829, production of coal increased by 2.5 million tons to 15 million tons.
James Watt: Rotary Steam Engine
All inventions are interconnected.
Most important invention of the Industrial Revolution is the steam engine.
Transportation is important because the cost and efficiency of transportation is the cost and
availability of raw material and manufactured goods.
Canals were used for internal use of transportation. In the mid 1700s, the canals were
In 1839: Stephensons Rocket the Steam Train won the contest. The railways dominated the
transportation scenes in England.
Land was the primary source of wealth, and when it came to the Industrial Revolution, the
new sources of wealth were ownership of machinery and factory.
Britain had the early creation of a banking system.
Effects of the Industrial Revolution:
The Human Aspect
Condition in which people lived in the early cities was really bad and polluted, but their
working conditions were horrible. Inside the factories, you would find poor ventilations,
dirty, poorly lit, dangerous, and unhealthy.
Population Growth
1) Decline in death rate