By Allan Potofsky
Interpreting the social and political historical past of staff and marketers engaged in developing the French capital from 1763-1815, this booklet argues that Paris development was once a center area within which 'archaic' and 'innovative' practices have been symbiotically utilized by guilds, the nation, and agencies to release the economic revolution in France.
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Extra info for Constructing Paris in the Age of Revolution
A classic ﬁve-story building of the Post-Seven War building boom anticipates the style Louis XVI. Made of cut stone (pierre de taille), this “bourgeois” construction set a very high standard – rarely met – of private construction. engaged by proprietors who sued guildsmen over ﬂimsy or defective construction (malfaçon). 14 For example, in a series of deliberations between 1759 and 1761, the guild met repeatedly to address the effects of a “new jurisprudence,” upheld by several tribunals including the Paris Parlement, to free up the construction market by stripping the right of guildsmen to ﬁx an industry-wide price for labor and materials (in particular, stones, plaster, mortar, and wood).
The broader challenge, then, for historians is to understand the singular nature of French economic development as a viable option to British industrialization. Even more than in Britain, certain industries depended heavily on artisanal production, leading to a peaceful coexistence between workshops and factories until the twentieth century. But the French model continues to provoke the larger question of what constituted its distinctiveness, one which resisted the British formula based on the diffusion and adaptability of technologies, product innovation, expansion abroad, and a liberalizing state.
In the face of this paradox, Mercier counseled a resigned tolerance for the relentless growth of the lump constituted by Paris. Mercier expressed an elitist perspective on the urgency of urban renewal and social reform within the capital; but he also conveyed fatalism that neither consensus nor political will nor economic means might transform the capital in accord with a single vision of the city. ” – reﬂects the widely shared perception that the fragile equilibrium in the social composition of Paris, with its range of characters, rich and poor alike, only coexisted on borrowed time by the second half of the eighteenth century.