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Nature, production and regulation in eighteenth-century Britain and France : the case of the leather industry

By Giorgio Riello


Leather was, in the pre-industrial economy, a scarce material used in the production of a wide range of goods. The supply of leather was influenced by the national cattle asset and its slaughtering rate. The difficulty in increasing leather production to meet the demands of a `consumer revolution' was the subject of theoretical debates and practical intervention. The state controlled and organized the leather market through fiscal and commercial policies. This article offers a comparative analysis of the French and the British leather markets in the eighteenth century. In France, the state assumed an organizational function in the creation of a national leather market. In Britain, by contrast, the state simply regulated an existing market. These different political interventions influenced the dynamics of development of leather production and the leather trades in the two countries. While France suffered from an endemic absence of leather, Britain was able to satisfy its increasing demand efficiently. \u

Topics: TS, DC, DA
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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