Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy

Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History

JOHN KOMLOS
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zv6wj
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    Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy
    Book Description:

    John Komlos examines the industrial expansion of Austria from a fresh viewpoint and develops a new model for the industrial revolution. By integrating recent advances in the study of human biology and nutrition as they relate to physical stature, population growth, and levels of economic development, he reveals an intense Malthusian crisis in the Habsburg lands during the second half of the eighteenth century. At that time food shortages brought about by the accelerated population growth of the 1730s forced the government to adopt a reform program that opened the way for the beginning of the industrial revolution in Austria and in the Czech Crownlands. Comparing this "Austrian model" of economic growth to the industrial revolution in Britain, Komlos argues that the model is general enough to explain demographic and economic growth elsewhere in Europe--despite obvious regional differences. The main feature of the model is the interplay between a persistent, even if small, tendency to accumulate capital and a population with an underlying tendency to grow in numbers while remaining subject to Malthusian checks, particularly a limited availability of food. According to Komlos, modern economic growth in Europe began when the food constraint was finally lifted.

    Originally published in 1989.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6038-8
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. LIST OF FIGURES
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-20)

    This study explores the importance of nutrition to the industrial revolution, with particular emphasis on its role in the eighteenth-century Habsburg Monarchy. For the first time, biological, demographic, and economic processes are integrated into a theory of the industrial revolution applicable not only to East-Central Europe, but to the European experience in general.

    In my previous work on the Habsburg Monarchy I explored the salient features of its economic development in the nineteenth century.¹ I sought to understand the dynamics of growth, ascertain the importance of institutional change, and look for spurts great and small—in short, to determine what...

  7. THE “AUSTRIAN” MODEL
    • CHAPTER 1 THE THEORY OF ANTHROPOMETRIC HISTORY
      (pp. 23-54)

      Economic historians have recently begun to analyze the ways in which economic, demographic, and biological processes interacted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The history of human stature plays a role in this research program because nutritional status until adulthood is a determining factor of the degree to which the height of an individual, and of a population, reaches its genetic potential.¹ At the conceptual level, nutritional status is a measure of the intake of nutrients minus the claims of basal metabolism, of energy expenditure, and of disease encounters. The higher the nutritional status, the more calories and protein remain...

    • CHAPTER 2 HUMAN STATURE IN EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE: THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
      (pp. 55-118)

      If, as has been demonstrated in the previous chapter, human stature is indicative of a population’s nutritional status, then analyzing its pattern cross-sectionally and longitudinally affords the researcher a fresh insight into the dynamics of economic development—in particular, the ways in which economic, demographic, and biological processes intertwined in this period. The argument is now advanced that the cycles in human height in East-Central Europe were intricately related to demographic developments, the process of industrialization, institutional change, commercialization, and the effect of weather conditions on agricultural production. (Unless otherwise noted, all references to stature at a particular time are...

    • CHAPTER 3 INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE UNDER PRESSURE: GOVERNMENT POLICY IN AN ENLIGHTENED DESPOTISM
      (pp. 119-166)

      Having become aware of the diminution in the nutritional status of the population and the concomitant decline in the standard of living, the monarchs attempted from the 1750s on to overcome the bottlenecks hindering economic development. Their perception of the need for action was reinforced by a subsistence crisis of immense proportions in 1770–71 and by several jacqueries of an old-fashioned sort. Responding to these pressures, Maria Theresia and her son, Joseph II, worked persistently to overcome the power of the guilds, to limit the privileges of the aristocracy, and to reform those institutions constraining growth. Furthermore, a number...

    • CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSION
      (pp. 167-184)

      The present study is an attempt to integrate anthropometric history into the mainstream of socioeconomic history. What emerges, I hope, is a version of “total” history, perhaps on the model of the Annales school, in which human biology plays a prominent role. This is accomplished by analyzing the various ways in which the nutritional status of the Habsburg population interacted with demographic, economic and even sociopolitical processes. Such a perspective, I have argued, enables one to synthesize the disparate strands of evidence into a coherent framework for understanding the industrial revolution in the Habsburg Monarchy. The resultant “Austrian” model will...

  8. EXTENSIONS
    • CHAPTER 5 THE “AUSTRIAN” MODEL AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND
      (pp. 187-206)

      The argument is advanced in this chapter that the “Austrian” model of the industrial revolution is also applicable to the English experience of the eighteenth century. The framework outlined in the previous chapters linked economic and demographic processes through the nutritional status of the population. A rise in nutritional status led to population growth, which, in turn, was followed by a decline in the standard of living of sufficient magnitude that it put pressure on the political system for institutional change. In Austria the reforms that came in the wake of the crisis opened the way for industrialization, enabling economic...

    • CHAPTER 6 PRE-INDUSTRIAL ECONOMIC GROWTH: A GENERALIZATION OF THE “AUSTRIAN” MODEL
      (pp. 207-224)

      Having outlined the dynamics of the industrial revolution in the Habsburg Monarchy, and having argued in the previous chapter that the same conceptualization is useful in understanding British economic growth in the eighteenth century, I now turn to expanding the model. In this chapter I suggest that the salient features of pre-industrial European economic development conform, in the main, to the framework abstracted from the Habsburg experience. The essence of the “Austrian” model is that the industrial revolution was preceded by population growth, which, in turn, brought with it not only the benefits of a higher population density, but also...

  9. APPENDIXES
    • APPENDIX A. RECRUITING PRACTICES OF THE HABSBURG ARMY
      (pp. 225-240)
    • APPENDIX B. SUPPLEMENTARY TABLES AND FIGURES
      (pp. 241-276)
    • APPENDIX C. A SIMULATION OF THE “AUSTRIAN” MODEL OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (WITH MARC ARTZROUNI)
      (pp. 277-290)
  10. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 291-318)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 319-325)