In the Doorway to Development

An Enquiry into Market Oriented Structural Changes in Norway ca. 1750-1830


Set within the growing literature on European economy in the late 18th and early 19th century, this book furnishes a “pre-history” to Norway’s rapid structural transformation and accelerated economic growth after the mid-nineteenth century. It argues that Norway in the long 18th century benefitted from an export-led growth, which exploited its abundant natural resources. The income from exports fuelled a substantial increase in consumption among rural households, while “pluriactivity”, a household strategy to balance market oriented production and consumption with self sufficiency in the insufficiently developed market succeeded in offering a “soft way” toward modern market society.
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EUR €120.00USD $163.00

Biographical Note

Ragnhild Hutchison, Ph.D. (2010) in History, European University Institute, Florence, is Post Doc in History at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim. She has worked extensively on production and consumption in the Early Modern Period.

Table of contents

1. Introduction
1 Hypothesis
2 Structure
3 Theory
4 Historiography of consumption in the early modern period
5 The methods used
6 The sources; their possibilities and challenges

2. Politics, Population and Production: Norway at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century
1 Politics
2 Population and social groups
2.1 Social differentiation
3 Production
3.1 Agriculture
3.2 The export trades
3.3 Pre-industrial manufacturing
4 Imports
5 Financial system
6 Conclusion

3. The Development of an Internal Market in Pre-industrial Norway
1 Internal market formation
2 Signs of market integration in Norway
3 The process of market integration in Norway
3.1 Transportation infrastructure
3.2 Jurisdictional change: the opening of trade
3.3 New retail forms: guesthouses and rural shops
4 Conclusion

4. Rural Households’ Allocation of Resources and Material Wealth
1 Norwegian rural farmers’ annual budget
1.1 Incomes
1.2 Expenditures
2 Material wealth seen through probate inventories
2.1 Wealth disparities as seen using probate inventories
2.2 Material wealth tied up in goods
3 General trends
4 Conclusion

5. Changing Trends in Housing, Furnishings and Smaller Household Goods
1 Comfort
1.1. Housing
1.2 Furnishings
1.3 Smaller household goods
2 How were the changes possible?
2.1 Predictability and security: taxation and rents
2.2 Breakability
3 Social and economic consequences
4 Conclusion

6. Bites, Nibbles, Sips and Puffs – New Foodstuffs in Rural Norway
1 From proteins to carbohydrates
2 The spread of exotic goods
2.1 Sugar and chocolate
2.2 Coffee and tea
2.3 Tobacco
2.4 Share of wages spent on exotic goods
2.5 Norwegian exotic goods consumption compared
3 The circumstances of the consumption
4 Conclusion

7. Conclusion: The Slow but Safe Path to a Market Economy


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