By Florian Schui (auth.)
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Extra resources for Early Debates about Industry: Voltaire and His Contemporaries
No mechanisation of labour The fourth characteristic of French industrialisation derives to a large extent from the concentration on labour intensive luxury production which was difficult to mechanise. Consequently, technical progress or, as Landes phrased it, the substitution of machines for ‘human skill and effort’ played a comparably small role in French industry. 11 Aside from population growth and an increase in labour time, the principal source of growth in French industry seems to have been organisational change.
Besides the meaning also the moral judgement of many contemporaries had changed since Voltaire had used the term in 1725. 21 The use of the term industry The different ways in which Voltaire used the term industry in 1725 and 1776 are milestones of a semantic and intellectual development. An intriguing process in which the concept of industry changed significantly took place during this period. A useful method to capture and understand this change is to look at the evolution of the frequency in which the term ‘industry’ was used.
Consequently, technical progress or, as Landes phrased it, the substitution of machines for ‘human skill and effort’ played a comparably small role in French industry. 11 Aside from population growth and an increase in labour time, the principal source of growth in French industry seems to have been organisational change. The nature of eighteenth-century industrial progress can be illustrated with the case of the already familiar Van Robais textile manufactory in Abbeville. It may be noted that this particular factory is not only used as an example in modern literature about the development of France’s industry.
Early Debates about Industry: Voltaire and His Contemporaries by Florian Schui (auth.)