Forum. We owe it to the american historian and Franklin Mendels (1943-1988) to have coined and popularized in a well-known article in the Journal of Economic History the term ” proto-industry “, the mode of production, including the broadcast begins truly in France in the years 1760-1800 at the dawn of the first industrial revolution (” Proto-Industrialization : the First Phase of the Industrialization Process “, vol. 32, n° 1, march 1972).
The economy of this trading system is based on two devices combined. The first consists of a ” hub “located within a city from which the” entrepreneurs-merchants ” or ” merchants-manufacturers “, according to the terms of French historiography, run their ” business “. Not wishing to make heavy investments, they need, in particular when markets are volatile and cyclical, a rural workforce, flexible, obedient and competitive, in which the geographical dispersion is not likely to foster solidarity in case of conflicts.
The role of the contractor is located upstream (supply the workshops of campaign material) and downstream (to ensure the collection of the finished products or semi-finished goods and the sale in urban workshops). Its control mainly focuses on the quality of the product and on the execution time, and not on the production.
The second device is the mobilization of the workforce, called it ” a proto-workers “. The latter, who own farms is too low to ensure a sufficient income and standing, bring their work force back-up during the off-season on the basis of what we today would call a form of part-time annualized combined with pluriactivity.
They can complement their resources in the form of pay for the task by articulating the best time and industrial time agricultural,…