Den sociala ekonomin: Familjen Clason och Furudals bruk 1804-1856 : [the Clason family and Furudal ironworks 1804-1856]
1998 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
How does historical change occur? This thesis deals with the economic and technological development of Furudal ironworks in the period 1804-1856. Furudal went from a traditional ironworks producing mainly bar iron to a complex production unit which included an engineering shop. The purpose of the thesis is to study the question of how and why this change occured, and what rationality lay behind economic action. Initially an analysis of previous research on capitalist mentality and the contribution of the businessman to economic change is undertaken. The question is whether the development of Furudal can be said to have been guided by the type of rationality Max Weber labelled the spirit of capitalism.
In the studied period Furudal was owned and managed by I. G. Clason, a member of the Clason family. The correspondence of I. G. Clason demonstrates the sociability of upper class individuals and families. A certain conspicous consumption was also the case. This sociability and consumption pattern must, I have argued, be seen as rational, due to the existence of what I have termed network logic or network rationality.
Network rationality was a function of the fact that upper class families were highly dependent on personal contacts. Friends and relatives were economic resources. They provided information, credit and performed commissions, in an elaborate pattern of network exchange. Network exchange was economic, and so there was a parallell economy, apart from market exchange, which was ruled by the rules of the network. The most important resource was social capital, and the family and the household constituted the core of the social capital. Network rules forced the individual to give priority to nursing the social relations, and to behave loyally and sincerely. It fostered individuals who were prone to collective opinion rather than individual judgement.
Network rationality could be expected to give rise to continuity rather than change. However, in the studied situation network rationality actually gave birth to economic development. The clever use of social contacts was the source of change. I. G. Clason was a very active owner, an entreprenur who introduced new production methods as well as new products. Entrepreneurship was however not based on individualism, competition and profit maximisation, but rather on collectivism, co-operation and the reproduction of personal relations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1998. , 318,  p.
Studia Historica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0081-6531 ; 189
Research subject History
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-899ISBN: 91-554-4258-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-899DiVA: diva2:172269
1998-10-02, universitetets lärosal X, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15