Greater market involvement by households, as producers and consumers, has been a key factor in explanations of economic change, particularly the notion of an industrious revolution. The degree, nature and implications of market involvement, however, varied across households, depending on many factors such as the type of farming, size of holdings and demand for labour. Identifying market involvement in the sources is also not easy. This paper reflects on these questions through the study of a Catalan peasant household over the years 1686–1812. This family was able to take advantage of new markets by increasing sales of wool to the growing textile industry. Comparison with their hired labourers, however, suggests that such flexibility was often dependent upon landholdings, particularly where these enabled continued self-sufficiency in foodstuffs in an era of rising prices. Peasant accounts need to be read carefully, however, and may reveal as much about tradition as they do about innovation or changing mentalities.
Marfany, J. (2018). Adapting to new markets: the income and expenditure of a Catalan peasant family, 1686 to 1812. Agricultural History Review, 66(1), 18-42