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Market Economy, Labour, And Wages

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the position of textile workers in Gujarat and the role of some other categories of labour. It focuses on the commodity and labour markets in Surat in the second half of the eighteenth century. The chapter examines the aspects of the labour market in order to be able to determine whether or not these groups contributed to the suggested stable market economy of Gujarat. Surats textile industry gave employment to a wide range of people across caste, community and gender, but while yarn was spun mainly by women, weaving was done almost exclusively by the male head of the household. The local merchant fleet of Surat and the several armed navies of Gujarat also generated enormous employment opportunities. The Maratha policy of farming out its share of land revenue to potential entrepreneurs increased the number of intermediaries in Gujarat.

Keywords: commodity markets; Gujarat; labour markets; local merchant; Maratha policy; market economy; navies; Surats textile industry



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