In the Crucible of the Revolution
The prosperity of Kalecki’s childhood was illusory. Workers and their families had been badly affected by the protectionist trade policies of the government in Moscow and by technological progress that deskilled their work. Poverty and unemployment was endemic in Łódź. In a foretaste of what was to come, strikes and civil disturbances had broken out in 1892, culminating in anti-Semitic attacks on the Jewish population in central Łódź. Business conditions for Abram Kalecki’s textile factory deteriorated in the early years of the twentieth century, soon after his son’s birth. Demand for Polish products in the Russian empire stagnated. In the empire’s Polish territories, the situation was exacerbated in 1903 and 1904 by poor harvests, which drove up food prices. Few in the rural economy benefited from those higher prices because a large proportion of the rural labour force was landless. Out of a total population of 11 million in the Kingdom of Poland in 1905, around 10 per cent were landless labourers and their families.1 Another significant proportion had only small landholdings.
KeywordsArmed Attack General Strike Factory Owner Rural Labour Force Civil Disturbance
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