Comparative Studies in Society and History

Land, Markets, and Social Structure

World Market, State, and Family Farm: Social Bases of Household Production in the Era of Wage Labor

Harriet Friedmanna1

a1 University of Toronto

Between 1873 and 1935 dramatic changes took place in the character of production in the industrial nations of the world. Longstanding and newly formed states in Europe and America engaged in vigorous campaigns of territorial expansion, so that virtually all the globe came to be incorporated within the sphere of world markets. During the same period, the expansion in industrial countries of new techniques of mass production coincided with growth and consolidation of organizations of people who worked for wages. The expansion of world markets, the development of mass produc— tion, and the new social importance of wage laborers, while certainly not the only features of the era, are often viewed as its central, interrelated, and dynamic basis.1 In this context, the transformations of production which accompanied the rise of a world wheat market during these decades were quite unusual.