(A2-14) The Industriousness Revolution and the Differentiation of Church Policy in the Second Half of the 18th Century

The project stands in the context of a medium-term undertaking to describe in an aggregated manner the German economy for the period from 1500 to 1850 (cf. Pfister 2009 for the time being). Here, the development of the work effort is an important factor for investigation. The thesis of the industrious revolution argues that the annual work effort per employee increased in the early modern age because people were willing to work more for the same pay. This change in behaviour had substantial positive external effects by contributing to market formation and, thus, to the consolidation of the interregional division of labour as well as to the economic development (de Vries 2008). Evidence that the amount of work offered by the individual increased in excess of the compensation of decreasing actual wages, however, has so far only been rendered for England in the second half of the 18th century and the early 19th century, and it is controversial (Voth 2001).

On the one hand, the individual work effort may have increased as, due to the increasing variety of consumer goods in the context of the beginning globalisation, the benefit gained from consumption and, thus, also from work (as a basis for acquiring consumer goods) was rising relative to leisure. On the other hand, the work effort may also have been normatively controlled, with religious-ethical norms taking priority in the early modern age. Thus, the thesis of the industrious revolution falls into line with the correlation of religion and economic styles, which has been a classical subject ever since Troeltsch and Weber. Here, more recently, Weber’s thesis has been developed in terms of negatives by Hersche (2006) on the basis of an impressive wealth of material on the Catholic baroque era. Firstly, he argues that more resources were expended for symbolical consumption in Catholic regions (»dissipation«) and that, in Protestant regions, there is evidence of the spread of a behaviour geared to longsight (Elias) in a multitude of spheres. In particular, simply because of the fewer public holidays, people in Protestant regions worked probably about 50 days more around 1750 than people in Catholic regions did. Secondly, Hersche argues that late Jansenist church policy (paradigm: the Josephine reforms of the 1780s in the Habsburg countries) considers itself a policy of a catching-up development: with progressive industriousness, particularly due to a reduction of public holidays, and religious tolerance (which was to support economically successful minorities), the aim was to catch up on the economically leading Protestant countries. With this aspect, the thesis of the industrious revolution moves into the context of the secularisation topic. While the 16th/17th-century church policy of Protestant regions, despite the differentiation of state church law, was ultimately ecclesiological and thus substantiated by an inner religious justification context, late Jansenist church policy evolved as a field of policy which was guided by motives from outside religion and which sought to control religious concerns with regard to non-religious ultimate values (development; health, for instance when inner-city cemeteries were abolished).

The present project aims, firstly, to determine whether, during the 16th to 18th centuries, people in regions of different denominations were really becoming more industrious at different rates. In this respect, court records (witness accounts of everyday activities), wage progressions of different work contracts and demographic data in particular will be analysed by means of statistical methods.

Secondly, 18th-century policies of progressive industriousness are to be analysed in a comparative manner predominantly in Catholic regions. While late Jansenism has been comparatively well investigated in the Habsburg countries, Catholic territories of the remaining empire have been explored less in this respect, although the challenge here (which, from a research strategic point of view, is appealing), except for Bavaria, was that church dignitaries had to develop a church policy not guided by religious maxims. The focus here is on the differentiation of church and religious policy as an independent policy. This includes the development of extra religious justification contexts, the production of norms, enforcement efforts and feedback (introspection of the field by means of reports; readjustment of norms). In this, enforcement and feedback are important mechanisms of drawing the line between religion and politics which, in the present case, were both conflictual (there were smaller revolts in some Habsburg regions) and required a reorganisation of responsibilities and self-description techniques. By focusing on the systemic analysis of the emergent political field of religious policy, the investigation can also contribute to answering the question as to which social techniques were applied in order to overcome the notorious enforcement deficit of the early modern state.
An investigation complex that lends itself is a comparison of a Habsburg region with preferably several prince-bishoprics in the remaining empire, if need be also with a Protestant territory (Saxony?).

The Project is part of coordinated project group Religious influences on economic systems and activities.