Luxury And Consumption: The 17th And 18th Century

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Luxury and Consumption: The seventeenth and Eighteenth century Consumer society The 17th and 18th century was a period marked by the availability of exotic goods through the inflow of American raw materials, exotic goods and the access to Asian consumer societies. Europe suddenly had access to rarities, which opened up a new consumer market. This transformation was mainly attributed to the rise of competing European East India Companies and private trade making a vast amount of goods available not only for the rich and the middle class, but sometimes also for artisan workers (Trentmann, pp. 180-184, 2012). In the Middle Ages, sumptuary laws were imposed by the European governments in order to prevent citizens from presenting themselves in an opposing way not related to their social status and therefore prohibiting them the consumption of luxury articles (Trentmann, p. 185, 2012). This in return made it easy to distinguish between elite status and the rest. Silk, for example, known for its high quality and rarity in Europe was only allowed for usage in the Church and princely courts. By the late 17th century however, these laws were abolished in England and the…show more content…
255, 1994) this increase in demand for commodities in addition to the large amount of quantity supplied due to the competition, lead to a change in household behavior which preceded the Industrial revolution. He named this phenomenon, the “industrious revolution” characterizing itself by the redistribution of labor from self sufficiency, which means the production of home-made goods, to commercially produced goods and the reduction of leisure time as marginal utility of income (money) rose. Households were obliged to have an income in the form of money, owing to the fact that they started to desire already made products which had to be paid with money (Vries, p. 257, 1994). As Steuart (p. 59, 1770) stated “Men are forced to labour now, because they are slaves to their own
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