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Modest Households And Globally Traded Textiles: Evidence From Amsterdam Household Inventories

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about textiles that are especially suitable for testing some of the broader implications of Jan de Vries's effort to establish a theory of consumer behavior as fully linked to the world of production and prices. It is quite plausible that textiles have been the most frequently traded commodity in the history of human civilization, despite how easy it has become for those of us living in a 'post-industrial' age to overlook them entirely. To bring this discussion to a conclusion, it seems to this author that we should not be particularly surprised by the evidence for a wide price and quality range for both European domestically produced textiles and their Asiatic competitors; or by the socially broad participation in the market for new consumer goods by the middle decades of the 18th century.

Keywords: Amsterdam household; globally traded textiles; human civilization; Jan de Vries



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