chapter  11
17 Pages

Labour- intensive industrialization: the case of nineteenth- century Alsace

WithMICHEL HAU, NICOLAS STOSKOPF

Alsace experienced during the nineteenth century two different patterns of industrialization. The first, in the southern part of the region, was based on large industrial steam-powered plants, which needed growing capital stocks and concentrated an important population of workers in Mulhouse and in the neighbouring centres of Thann, Guebwiller and Cernay. The second, which developed in all parts of Alsace and particularly in the northern part (corresponding to the département of Bas-Rhin), was based on a proliferation of small independent labour-intensive entreprises. Small entreprises continue to have an important place in Alsatian industry. The purpose of this chapter is to explain why this pattern of industrialization was so widely distributed in Alsace and why it is still flourishing today.