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On DemandWriting for the Market in Early Modern England$
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David Baker

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804738569

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804738569.001.0001

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Marvelously Altered

Marvelously Altered

(p.1) Chapter One Marvelously Altered
On Demand
Stanford University Press

This chapter reviews mounting evidence suggesting that the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries saw a steady rise in demand and consumption in the kingdom. In these years, English people began to buy many more goods and services than they once had, including theatrical performances. The chapter considers the causes of this demand, drawing on the ideas of economic historian Jan de Vries, according to whom, many English households during this period reorganized themselves and so increased their productivity. More members worked, and they worked harder and differently, fashioning goods in the home for sale or taking up jobs for pay outside it. Where once they might have made what they needed for themselves, English households were now more likely to make what they wanted to sell, and to rely on the market to supply them with goods and services in turn. The money they made in “proto-industry” and on the job they spent on what other households had to offer. As productivity rose, so too did consumption, each driving the other along.

Keywords:   demand, consumption, Jan de Vries, English households, productivity

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