The Ancien Régime économique was characterised by: (1) the predominance of the agricultural sector, which itself was primarily orientated towards the production of basic foodstuffs, the dominance of this sector being exemplified by the general economic crisis which followed a poor harvest; (2) the absence of cheap and reliable transport facilities, which resulted in a compartmentalised market structure inducing substantial price fluctuations and increasing general economic instability; and (3) by the prominence within the industrial sector of consumer goods industries and in particular textiles. Richard Cobb has pointed out that the persistence of the problem of food supply — of dearth — is testimony to the survival of the traditional economy well into the nineteenth century.


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© Roger Price 1981

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