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39

The creation and expansion of European empires during the Age of Discovery resulted in the expansion of trade routes to new colonies and trading posts across the world. The vast areas of these trade routes were far larger than the new empires' navies could effectively police, which meant that merchant vessels moving along them were essentially responsible ...


19

Putting aside the danger for this to turn into "it was better in my day" rants, Hacker Culture is alive and well and thriving. It just doesn't look like it did in the 70s. First, I'm going to make a modification to your definition. You define Hacker Culture as "being really good at something for its own sake" which was never really true. You could be ...


15

The First World War and the Soviet Union happened. War time hysteria made labour groups and socialists, who were largely against the war, a target of vigilante attacks and political repression. To make matters worse, amid the political suppression internal divisions of the socialist movement spilled into the open. Encouraged by the revolutionary success in ...


13

In the aftermath of the first World War, approximately 12 million German workers (source in German) out of a population of 62 million went on a general strike to protest the Kapp Putsch. This is a slightly higher percentage, 19% of the population compared to 16% from your example. But it was a political strike, not one for traditional economic aims. I don't ...


13

Discrimination against the Chinese was clearly a key factor, excluding them from higher paid and more desirable jobs aboard ship. Here is a quote from the article "‘I Espied a Chinaman’: Chinese Sailors and the Fracturing of the Nineteenth Century Pacific Maritime Labour Force" by John T. Grider, published in the journal Slavery & Abolition (2010). ...


11

The French General Strike of May 1968 is a likely contender with around 10 million on strike out of a then population of about 51.2 million, or about 19.5% of the total population. This represented about two-thirds of the total workforce. Some sources put the number as high as 11 million (approx. 21.5% of the population). L'Aurore was a French centre-right ...


10

1) Generally he wouldn't; his parents would find someone to give him employment. Family connections were key. 2) Free labor. Apprentices worked for you at essentially no wages; there were almost no limits on the surplus value the master could extract from the apprentice and almost no oversight. Update @jwenting points out that the relationship between ...


10

I did not find a specific reference to the work hours of the Tolpuddle Martyrs either. It's possible they worked radically unconventional hours, but probably it was no different than the norm at the time. That is to say, 12 hours a day (less meal time), in the summer. This would've been reduced in the winter in accordance with the much shorter days, so about ...


9

Most people in medieval England would have gotten their food from subsistence farming on land rented from a manor and payed for in labour, while during the Industrial revolution most people in England would have lived in cities. The question is if the enclosures was responsible for the supply of labour to factories. The answer is no. Enclosing land was a ...


9

There is no good answer to this question as posed, because many Asian-American ethnicities are poorer than the U.S. general public. In fact, Asian Americans' high incomes are largely due to Indian Americans, which is not necessarily the group most Americans think of when they hear the term "Asian American." Let's look at a 2012 Pew study of "The Rise of ...


9

In fact the creation of the NHS didn't have a significant influence on the national debt. This is mostly because the NHS wasn't created from scratch (with thanks to Steve Bird). There were already existing (& publicly funded) institutions and entities (with regards to welfare,healthcare,...). These were merged and augmented to form the first NHS. ...


9

The phrase "left over" implies slaves doing most of the work. While seemingly intuitive, it is in actuality quite implausible. For most of history in farming based civilisations, the vast majority of humans were engaged in cultivation. Percentage wise this is far higher than the proportion of slaves, even in the most heavily enslaved populations. Thus, while ...


8

I only know about the London guild system but his family would arrange it because it required a considerable payment to the master. Contracts were drawn up by the relevant guild then confirmed at the Guildhall. Apprenticeships were taken pretty seriously and the master could not just use the apprentice as cheap labour. Some tasks such as 'fetching water' ...


8

The labouring man will take his rest long in the morning; a good piece of the day is spent afore he come at his work; then he must have his breakfast, though he have not earned it at his accustomed hour, or else there is grudging and murmuring; when the clock smiteth, he will cast down his burden in the midway, and whatsoever he is in hand with, he will ...


8

I suspect that we have a conflict of assumptions and language. The Lord of the World is a work of speculative fiction. None of it is historical. @KillingTime pointed out the key to understanding the entire question; the novel was published in 1907, so it isn't based on historical events at all. It is speculative fiction about then (then) future. in ...


7

There were absolutely labor crunches while building the transcontinental railroads--these roads were stretching across a vast, unpopulated (by European Americans, that is) and harsh terrain. Labor shortages were worst during the Civil War, for obvious reasons. However, I can't find evidence of any major delays in the railroads' construction. This is due in ...


7

As it happens, I'm getting partly paid in food today. There is a system to record how often I go to the staff canteen, and the next month that is deducted from my payslip. Of course that's only a small percentage of the total. And I'm not really forced to go to the canteen, if I don't go there nothing is deducted. But there are days where the schedule makes ...


7

In the US rail road workers were often paid in such a way that their earnings usually got devoted to their food and board. In todays terms it would be like getting $500 a week but having to spend $495 at the company canteen (usually because there was no other option). Yes it did create some unrest, but not much. Another example (on the other end of the ...


7

It was certainly customary for men in ancient Egypt to follow the profession of their fathers after coming of age, but Adam Smith was wrong to claim that men were "bound by a principle of religion" to follow the occupations of their fathers. For example, the Instruction of Dua-Khety, also known as The Satire of the Trades, shows quite clearly that sons ...


6

Neither. Reasons given for advocating the abolition of slavery usually were: 1) Slavery was a form of theft and totally wrong, unethical, evil and against the will of God. 2) slavery was bad for all white people except for the few actual slave owners. It enabled the slave owners to dominate, oppress, and impoverish the white southerners without their ...


6

Yes. Or perhaps "undefined". Was it legal? Where? Who would have passed a law forbidding the practice? Why would they pass such a law? Why wouldn't you pay someone in whiskey? Consider two things - With all due respect to @Samuel Russel, the early government was concerned with labor law only where it concerned servitude. The division between North (...


6

I was surprised to find out that, yes there were troubles with labor shortages. From Public Broadcasting Station "American Experience" article on the "Workers of the Central Pacific Railroad", In early 1865 the Central Pacific had work enough for 4,000 men. Yet contractor Charles Crocker barely managed to hold onto 800 laborers at any given time. Most of ...


6

Here is the full text of the Walsh Commission in html: http://www.archive.org/stream/industrialrelati01unitrich/industrialrelati01unitrich_djvu.txt here is the text on Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=CtgJAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false here is a pdf of the text from Cornell Library: http://...


6

The earliest form of unions were guilds which identified people who specialized in certain skills. These guilds would consist of masters, journeymen, and apprentices, each with different levels of experience. As cities became more urbanized, many industries found it more practical to hire unskilled labor and train them to have the necessary skills. The ...


6

The answer is in the meat-packing industry and the development of a practical refrigerated boxcar, also known as the reefer. This permitted livestock ranched in the West to be slaughtered nearer the cattle ranges, and shipped back east with little spoilage - before, livestock were shipped live to local slaughter-houses in the East, who distributed the meat ...


6

To make the answer short not very well. Their treatment under the ranchos was pretty much the same as their treatment under the Missions. The articles mentioned they were paid in goods and alcohol, though some may have been paid in cash or script, I guess it would depend on the Ranchero. "A California rancho might employ as few as twenty or as many as ...


6

After the political collapse of the Soviet Union came the crash of its industrial system. As a result, for some time during the 90s many workers were paid in kind. Here's a description: Starved for cash, factories reverted to paying workers and paying off debts to other factories in kind. Therefore, in many areas of Russia a barter economy emerged as ...


6

edit: originally this question asked specifically about modern comedians, and that's what I've tried to answer below. The UK comedy scene, once called 'alternative comedy' started as an anti-Thatcher subculture in urban comedy clubs. 'Thatcher, eh?' used to be a lazy go-to line for a comedian to show he was 'one of us'. Before that, UK comedy generally ...


5

As a supplement to Semaphore's excellent answer dealing with ancient slavery thought I'd add one data point from US history... I remember taking a tour of New Orleans and hearing that the canals were dug by Irish immigrants rather than slaves as the slaves were too valuable to risk in such harsh conditions. A bit of googling has turned up some support for ...


5

An important concept here is "alienated wage labour." That is labour that is performed for someone else for a wage. A wage can be money, or goods, or food. But the wage relationship is focused on "labour" on one side and "money" on the other. By considering labour as convertible into money, the nature of the labouring human is changed and their hours or ...


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