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The Historical Distinctiveness of Central Europe

A Study in the Philosophy of History


Krzysztof Brzechczyn

The aim of this book is to explain economic dualism in the history of modern Europe. The emergence of the manorial-serf economy in the Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary in the 16th and the 17th centuries was the result of a cumulative impact of various circumstantial factors. The weakness of cities in Central Europe disturbed the social balance – so characteristic for Western-European societies – between burghers and the nobility. The political dominance of the nobility hampered the development of cities and limited the influence of burghers, paving the way to the rise of serfdom and manorial farms. These processes were accompanied by increased demand for agricultural products in Western Europe

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9 The Genesis of European Differentiation

9 The Genesis of European Differentiation

1. On the Peculiarities of Feudalism in Central Europe

European feudalism came to existence in three separate cultural-geographic zones.327 In the first zone, covering Italy, southern France and Spain, which was dominated by the ancient social system, feudalism developed in the course of an internal evolution of slave relations of production. In the second zone, covering the terrains of central and northern France, balance between Roman and barbarian influences prevailed. There, the feudal system was brought to existence via a synthesis of social instruments stemming from the Roman civilization and the Germanic conquerors. Finally, in the area, which has never been in contact with the Roman world, the feudalism arose in a spontaneous way, in the course of a dissolution of pre-class kinship and tribal communities. This third zone covered an array of diversified societies, such as Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, Germanic, and Slavic populations.

It is noteworthy that in non-Marxian historical materialism, the model explaining the development of feudalism with an evolution of slave mode of production does not have a universal character (it is not relevant to all developmental paths of European societies).328 In fact, it is only relevant to societies belonging to the first cultural/geographic circle, in which slave mode of production prevailed.

In Slavic societies, feudalism came to existence spontaneously, in the course of a dissolution of agrarian kinship and tribal communities, and, as a result, it considerably varied from the classic Western-European feudalism. From the standpoint of the assumptions adopted in the present book, the above problematic is of secondary nature, as it only serves as a starting point for a principal empirical analysis, therefore, I will conceptualize only the structural features of Central-European feudalism in terms of n-Mhm. My analysis will not take into consideration theses stemming from individually-constructed theoretical models explaining the mechanisms of a transformation of a kinship and tribal community into a feudal system, and a transformation of the latter into a classic ←259 | 260→Western-European feudalism. For the same reason, I will restrict my argument to the case of Poland.

In a society under the “ducal law” (Ius Ducale) system, the ruling class was the lordship, termed in historical sources as the nobiles. This social class drew its power from control over the means of coercion and the means of production. Individuals recruited from this social class held offices in state administration. For instance, the administration system of the Piast dynasty had three levels of state authority: central, provincial and castellan. The central level consisted of the Duke’s court and specialized agencies of state authorities, such as treasury, military commandership, etc. The state was divided into 8 provinces and around 90 stronghold districts. The lowest administrative unit was headed by a castellan who had broad competencies. He held power over local chivalry, he had judicial and police power, and his duties included collection of contributions and taxes from the peasants. Additionally, a castellan had an administrative apparatus at his disposal. It usually comprised of an officer (wojski) who dealt with military matters, a judge who had judiciary competences and a bailiff. The latter collected taxes and contributions. Finally, a castellan had an administrator (włodarz) who managed private assets of the ruler.329

The lord class owned modest land estates of their own. In Poland and in Hungary typical estates belonging to this social class did not exceed several villages. In unique cases they reached a dozen or so.330 In contrast, at the time, a castellan of a typical stronghold district held power over a 100 villages. Clerical emolument of a castellan was several times higher than the income acquired from his own economic activity. In the above-mentioned countries around 1/3 of the total value of service was reserved for the emolument for clerks of the lowest administrative level.331

Following from this, in a society of the system of the Ius Ducale a double class of rulers-owners was the ruling class. As stated by Karol Modzelewski who investigated the issue, the principal source of income for this social class was governance, and not control over the means of production:

It was possible to control a massive peasant population subordinated to the Ius Ducale system only by exercising governing functions in state territorial administration and at ←260 | 261→the Duke’s court […]. In general, this ruling class identified with higher levels of ducal hierarchy.

This should not come as a surprise in light of the information about the agrarian structure and the social condition of the peasantry. As long as landed property was a marginal phenomenon, and the greater part of rural population was subordinated only to the monarchy and the Ius Ducale, one’s official functions predominantly determined high income and a high position in a society.332

In a society of the Ius Ducale, social division of the political sphere, namely identification of a social minority, which held a monopoly to use the means of coercion, brought about a growing diversification of the economy. In Central-European feudalism, a duke, as a representative of the hierarchy of power, formally had all fallow and uncultivated land at his disposal. He could grant it to the Church or to the lordship. Wars were the second source of economic diversification. War trophies, particularly livestock and prisoners, were divided between the members of the ruling class. Moreover, the fate of the special category of the peasantry – the servant classes – was in the hands of a duke. He could keep them or grant them to other social subjects.

The common or simple knighthood (włodycy), in historical sources typically termed as milites gregorii, constituted an intermediate layer between the peasantry and the lordship. This social group stemmed from the common people. Włodycy were better armed than other free folk, with a sword, a shield, a spear, an axe and a mount – therefore, they were more likely to participate in military expeditions. In return for their constant readiness to serve the duke, włodycy were granted an exemption from basic tributes and services. Moreover, their farmhouses were larger than peasant farms. The emergence of milites from a homogeneous mass of common people was the key moment in the process of development of the state and the dissolution of a tribal community:

[W];ithout a military force independent from the free folk, the monarchy was unable to become independent from a veche, to create an administrative apparatus, to monopolize judiciary system, and finally to levy tributes and services onto the greater part of country’s population. […] As a result of the division of common free folk into knights and non-knights, a class of peasants emerged as a separate category in the structure of Polish society.333

Following from this, the emergence of włodycy diversified the group of common free folk (wolne pospólstwo), who, in turn, transformed into a class of peasants. ←261 | 262→Political authorities brought about further social division of the class of peasants. It has two additional distinguishable social layers – the so-called peasants-heirs (chłopi-dziedzice) and servants. The former constituted the core of the peasantry. They were obliged to provide a number of services and tributes in favor of the state. Karol Modzelewski conducted an analysis of the structure of peasant services in Poland.334 He listed five basic tributes and services the peasantry was obliged to provide in favor of the state: stróża, poradlne, podworowe, narzaz, and an array of occasional services. Stróża consisted in keeping guard in town, however, peasantry was exempted from it in return for a suitable fee paid in grain and oat. The basis for poradlne (a tax supplied in grain) was acreage of land cultivated with two steers using scratch plough. Another service was podworowe – paid once a year, with sheep, cows or rams, depending on a specified number of peasant homesteads. Narzaz was a fee paid for pig grazing in ducal forests and meadows. This tribute was collected from the entire village, in swine, and its amount was determined by the size of the total flock grazed by a village. In addition to permanent services, peasants-heirs were obliged to provide occasional services. These included: stan – an obligation to supply duke’s court with water and food during a stop; przewód – an obligation to transport objects indicated by ducal officials with own means of transportation to the place of destination; powóz – an obligation to transport persons; and podwód – the Ius Ducale for temporary requisition of steers, horses and carts for war matters. Additionally, peasants had to participate in fortification works, building and restoration of towns and bridges, and in carving paths through forests. In his estimation of the size of peasant obligations under the Ius Ducale, Modzelewski states that the Ius Ducale was precedent to land governance, and was not a state addition to lord’s sovereignty over the peasantry.

The second sub-category of the peasantry were servants. They had a different social condition. In return for being exempted from the greater part of services and tributes, they were obliged to perform specialized services in favor of the state.335 Based on the preserved names of towns it was possible to identify 40 different specialties, among which approximately half were craft abilities.336 Servant settlements were covering the central territory of the Piast country. In comparison to the remaining rural population, servants were economically privileged, ←262 | 263→but they had a limited freedom. Servants performed obligations to the duke hereditarily, so they could not choose their place of residence or profession.337

In his analysis of the services in kind, which resulted from the Ius Ducale, Modzelewski states that “the structure of obligations resulting from the Ius Ducale in its most popular version was predominantly characterized by a collage of various needs and duties designed to satisfy any request of the ruler or state apparatus.”338

The status of peasants-heirs and their entitlement to land was an impediment on the path of development of grand land ownership. Grand ownership could come to existence only if a duke resigned from a prerogative of public power – judiciary and economic – and pass it onto owners. The first institution to make a breakthrough in the system of the Ius Ducale was the Church. In the course of bestowing immunities, this institution was being granted land together with people living on it, who used to be subjugated to the Ius Ducale, since the end of the 11th century. By granting land, a duke would give up his claim from the Ius Ducale to the people residing on. At first, state officials opposed the immunity action because it reduced the economic position of this social group. However, as the state fragmentation was progressing and the group of persons holding the highest positions grew from a dozen or so in the 11th century to two hundred in the 12th century, the resistance of this social group weakened. The land of the officials was gradually becoming more important than their emolument. In the 12th–13th centuries, the immunity action spread to other social circles, particularly the nobility and knighthood.339

The system of the Ius Ducale prevailing in Hungary, Bohemia, and Poland remained a contentious issue in historical literature. Let us now present two interpretations of the system and a characteristic of the Ius Ducale society in the conceptual apparatus of non-Marxian historical materialism.340

←263 | 264→

Henryk Łowmiański distinguishes between two forms of social pre-capitalistic organizations – a so-called Asian and a feudal production system.341 In light of historical records, the evolution of pre-class societies toward slavery is an exception, and not a rule. According to Łowmiański, in an empirical world, a so-called Asian production system was much more popular. It:

[p];resents […] a form of non-individual, collective exploitation of producers by social elites using state authorities, while the exploited population may be organized into village communities (wspólnoty gromadzkie), a continuation of pre-state communities.342

Feudalism, in turn, is a system founded on a serfdom-based dependency of the peasantry from the class of feudal lords, which has the attributes of a public and private authority. This social system has a centralized and a decentralized form. Centralized feudalism was characteristic for the terrains situated outside the borders of the Roman Empire. Following from this, the social system prevailing in Central Europe between the 10th and the 12th centuries was a centralized form of feudalism. In this system, the state served merely as an instrument of exploitation of the peasantry by the feudal class: “The early-feudal period was dominated by a form of exploitation, which could be termed as collective and which was implemented via state.”343

Centralized feudalism was an early form of a social system, which would have been at some point subject to decentralization. The reason for this was that the early-feudal monarchy “[h];ad performed its class duty by organizing exploitation of the producers, and now attempted to disrupt the ongoing process of subordinating producers directly to feudal lords, not to the monarchy.”344

Modzelewski puts forward a different interpretation of the system of the Ius Ducale. He explains dissimilarities in the development of Central-European feudalism with a different socio-economic background. The Přemyslid, Árpád, or Piast monarchies arose outside the Carolingian succession and the Roman influences, and did not have a system of private land ownership. Tribal and kinship system, in turn, prevented creation of grand ownership at the expense of common free folk:

←264 | 265→

The assets belonging to tribal aristocracy did not exceed a modest level because the social structure prevented them from growing. It proved impossible to force the masses of common free folk to work for a third party. Aristocracy could not deprive them from their freedom or land. Tribal authorities were unable to levy more substantial tributes. It was itself dependent on the “Noble Host” (a mass mobilization; pospolite ruszenie) in every military need and on the participation of the administrative unit of opole in every internal undertaking. In order to impose substantial economic obligations on the common free folk, the authorities would have to have a military force independent from the people and an administrative apparatus capable of using coercion.345

As a result, the only solution was to enforce slavish ties indirectly, that is to say, via a growing state apparatus, which levied tributes and services on the peasant population. According to Modzelewski, “the system of obligations of the Ius Ducale was constructed with a view to directly satisfy the largest needs of the state, and not to increase the purely quantitative maximization of the incomes.”346

In Modzelewski’s interpretation, the state is not only an instrument used by the economically-ruling class because there was simply no such class at the time of emergence of the state. This class came to existence when the system of state servitude collapsed. The principal function of the Ius Ducale was to satisfy the demands of the state. It only indirectly ensured fixed income to the ruling class.

Modzelewski argues that the system of the Ius Ducale should be analyzed with reference to two systems: Western-European feudalism and the Asian production system. The differences between the Central-European society and the model of Western feudalism include: “the identity of the ruling class and the state hierarchy,” “indirect exploitation of all people based on common duties for the benefit of the monarchy,” “absence of the attributes of personal or land dependency,” and “development of a class system on the fundament of formally inviolable right of the common people to land and other tribal institutions.”347

The above-listed features differentiating the system of the Ius Ducale from the classic feudal system bring to mind an analogy with the so-called Asian production system. According to Modzelewski, however, these two systems should not be identified. In the Asian system of production, the state served as a coordinator and promoter of production. In this social system, land was a property of individual agrarian communities stemming from the pre-state period. These communities paid tributes to the state and performed services. Following from this, Modzelewski concludes his argument in the following way:

←265 | 266→

Eastern-European monarchies differed from Asian despotic systems by a technological gap with all its consequences concerning organization of a society and its structural dynamics. The general social functions of the state were limited to defense, judiciary and police-organizational obligations, and did not include organization of agricultural production. In this aspect, a peasant family constituted an economic entity with a substantial scope of productive independence; in fact, it corresponded with an individual system of expropriation of land (…). In this aspect, the system of the Ius Ducale and classic Western-European feudalism were based on a similar civilizational fundament. “State servitude” became a starting point for the processes of feudalization, which finally blurred the primary difference between the structure of the two systems.348

Let us now attempt to characterize the Ius Ducale society in notion apparatus of n-Mhm. Among supra-class societies there are distinguished two kind of totalitarian societies characterized by the concentration of the means of coercion and production in the hands of a single social class. In the political variant of a totalitarian system, political interest, namely the maximization of power regulation, dominates over economic interest, namely the maximization of the surplus product. In the economic variant of a totalitarian system, the maximization of profits dominated over the maximization of power regulation. The above should be perceived as pure cases of supra-class systems in n-Mhm. Additionally, the theory recognizes quasi-totalitarian societies. These are societies, where single classes of rulers and owners accompany the double class of rulers-owners. Quasi-totalitarian systems may also have both of the above-mentioned variants: political and economic.

The above description of the system of the Ius Ducale proves that countries under the rule of Přemyslid, Árpád or Piast dynasties were not standard class societies. They were closer to quasi-totalitarian societies. Nobiles – the ruling class in the Ius Ducale society combined political and economic power. As a result, this social group was a double class of rulers-owners. In the above system, the double class of rulers-owners gained its principal income from holding power, and not from possession of the means of production, which were of a rather unsubstantial size. The class of individual owners – włodycy arose beside the double class of rulers-owners. Therefore, it is possible to interpret the status of włodycy, who owned land estates, but did not belong to the double class of rulers-owners. To paraphrase Łowmiański’s interpretation in terms of n-Mhm, we may assume that the Ius Ducale system was an economic variant of a (quasi) totalitarian system. And in Modzelewski’s view, the system was a political variant of a (quasi) totalitarian system.

←266 | 267→

The collapse of the system of the Ius Ducale may be interpreted as the process of detotalitarianization. The process consisted in a development of a single class of owners and emergence of a class (economic) society. The above statement allows us to determine the period of the implementation of the model of an economic society with a shortage of manpower. The theses of this model are relevant for an economic society with separate social classes. Hence, they do not apply to societies of the Ius Ducale, regardless of the type of the (quasi) totalitarian system they may represent.

Thus, the formation of a class society took place at the turn of the 12th and the 13th centuries. The process determines the beginning of the validity of the theses of the model of an economic society with a shortage of manpower.

2 The Emergence of a Cascade of European Differentiation

2.1 The Core of the Cascade of European Differentiation

The system of the Ius Ducale finally disappeared from in central-European societies in the 12th–13th centuries. A ruling class of rulers-owners gave rise to a single class of owners, which obtained immunity and took over a part of judicial and tax prerogatives of the political authorities over the subjects. In turn, came to existence a society, which evolved according to the mechanism of economic society, where the class of owners plays the main role. In this period – analogically to Western Europe – towns emerged and expanded, rent economy prevailed in the rural areas, and the traditional forms of natural economy were being replaced with the developing commodity-monetary economy.

However, since the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries, the distinctiveness of the developmental path of Central-European countries gradually increased in comparison with Western Europe. The river Elbe became the borderline between two developmental zones. West of the river, towns, craft production and manufacture continued to expand, and peasants gained personal freedom. The social balance between burghers and the nobility enabled the state to gain in power and to transform from a state monarchy into an absolutist monarchy in the modern period. By contrast, east of the river Elbe, the towns in all countries of the region experienced a significant crisis – a decrease of population and craft production. In the rural craftsmanship, the development of a manorial-serf economy superseded the earlier monetary economy. The process was accompanied by the growth of obligations imposed by the lords over the peasantry and introduction of the so-called second serfdom. The economic superiority of the nobility was also strengthened in political life – in all Central-European societies, burghers ←267 | 268→had unsubstantial impact on public life, in comparison with Western Europe, whereas the state was subordinated to the interests of the nobility. The rise and development of a manorial-serf economy, which allowed for an increase of exploitation of the peasantry, was the basic factor bringing about a differentiation between two basic economic zones in modern Europe. According to Phillip Longworth, the economic system exerted a permanent influence on the development of Central Europe:

the imposition of serfdom established a profound difference between Eastern and Western European society. This difference had important cultural and moral dimension, affecting not only the serfs, whom it degraded, but their owners, many of whom were corrupted by the almost absolute power they wielded over them. As we have seen serfdom lasted very much longer in Eastern Europe than in the West, exerting a profound effect both on popular and elite attitudes down to the present day. The modern tendencies towards a disorderliness tempered by servility, and even anarchy, owes much to the heritage of serfdom. The effects of serf-owning is reflected, arguably, in the ready contempt shown for those who hold a different view, the common failure to comprehend pluralistic structures, and the tendency to confuse self-respect with the domination of others.349

The growing differentiation between Western and Central-European societies may also be conceptualized in the conceptual apparatus of non-Marxian historical materialism. A gradual increase of the alienation of labor takes place in the first stage of development of a typical Western-European society. However, an intensification of exploitation does not bring about an economic evolution because in the final stadium of the phase of an increased alienation of labor a technical advancement occurs – new tools and technologies of production appear. The development of production forces divides the economy, by breaking the class of owners into two sub-categories: owners of the new sphere of production (burghers) and owners of the old sphere of production (nobility). The division of the homogeneous class of owners into two fractions helps political authorities to liberate themselves from the influence of both fractions. Initially, the authorities enter an alliance with the weaker fraction of the class of owners (burghers) directed against the stronger fraction (nobility). Subsequently, when the greater part of the social product is manufactured in the urban sector of the economy, the class alliance is reversed – the authorities enter an alliance with the nobility, which is the weaker element in the economic system. As a result, the political authorities liberate themselves from the influence of grand ownership ←268 | 269→and gradually etatized all spheres of social life. This is the image of the development of Western societies according to the n-Mhm model of feudalism. However, it does not correspond with the evolution of Central-European societies.

A drop of the alienation of labor characterized the first stage of development of a class society in Central Europe. This is how we may interpret the development of German colonization and settlement with German Law. In this period, the economy divided into two sectors – towns and burghers arose. However, from the very beginning, the contribution of the urban sector of economy to production and the impact of burghers on public life in a typical Central-European society were smaller than the socio-economic influence of owners of the new sector of production (burghers) in a typical Western-European society. The division of the – until then homogenous – class of owners into two subcategories (burghers and nobility) allowed the authorities to end a political collapse caused by state fragmentation, but the weak condition of towns triggered by a number of secondary factors made it impossible for the Central-European society to develop analogically to Western-European societies. In a typical Central-European society, the class of owners of the old sphere of production (nobility) exerted domineering influence on public life. The nobility managed to subordinate authorities to its interests and use them to limit the prospects of expansion of the alternative field of production – the urban sphere. The subordination of the political power and limitation of developmental perspectives of the new sphere of production allowed for an increase of the alienation of labor in the old sector of economy (agriculture), which limited the developmental prospects of the new sector (towns).

Let us now conduct an empirical analysis of the factors, which brought about a developmental distinctiveness between Western and Central Europe. The factors appearing in the cascade of European differentiation include its core, or a set of variables which operated in each of the societies under study – Polish, Hungarian and Bohemian – and specific factors responsible for the development of each of those Central-European societies. Th shortage of manpower was a factor, which initiated the build-up of the cascade of European distinctiveness. The level of population density was one of the significant factors deciding on the socio-economic specificity of Central Europe and, hence, it requires attention. The disproportions between Western and Central Europe concerning the level of population density derived from the times of the Roman Empire. In the 1st century, the Roman part of the European continent, namely west of the Rhine and south of the Danube, was inhabited by ca. 70 % of the continent’s population. Ten centuries later, around 65 % of the continent’s population still lived in the area. In the 10th century, about 49 million people inhabited Europe. At that time, ←269 | 270→the population of France was 9 million, Italy – 7 million, Germany – 5.4 million, England and Wales – 2.5 million. Central-European countries of those times were respectively less populated: Poland had a population of 1.25 million, Bohemia and Moravia that of 1 million, Hungary – around 1 million. Population density in particular countries was just as irregular: for instance, in Italy there were 24 people per square km, compared with 16 in France, 10 in Germany and 8 on British Isles, whereas in Poland the respective figure was 5 people and 8 people in Bohemia.350

Henryk Samsonowicz and Antoni Mączak identify three population zones. The most populated zone, with the density above 20 people per square km, stretched from England to the Apennine Peninsula and covered the following countries: Italy, central and northern France, western and southern Germany, and England. Along both sides of that area, there stretched the terrains with a population density between 8 and 15 people per square km. Southern France, Spain, and Portugal were situated to the west of that zone, and to the east were Denmark, Mecklenburg, Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, and the Baltic states. Apart from the two zones, the above-mentioned authors distinguish an area of the lowest population density (up to 2 people per square km) with Russia and the Scandinavian countries. As a result, Central-European societies were located between the second and the third zone.351

In the middle of the 14th century, Western Europe was touched by a plague epidemic, which equaled to a demographic catastrophe for this part of the continent. The plague reduced the continent’s population by 25 % in comparison to its initial state.352 As a result, the loss of population in particular areas of England was equal to 23 %–45 %, compared to 25 %–35 % in France, 40 %–60 % in northern Italian towns, 30 % in Spain and 25 %–75 % in Germany, in comparison to its initial state.353 Such a significant drop of population density was caused by considerable over-population of Western Europe when combined with technological capabilities of the Medieval economy. The epidemic of the ←270 | 271→plague did not affect Central-European countries.354 On the contrary, societies of this region experienced a population growth between the 13th and the 17th centuries. In the first half of the 14th century, the population of Poland increased to 1.8 million people, of Bohemia to 2 million, and of Hungary to 2.5–3 million. In modern times, the population of Hungary was equal to 4 million of people (the turn of the 15th and the 16th century), Bohemia had a population of 2.4 million people (the end of the 16th century) and Poland – 4 million (the turn of the 15th and the 16th century). A substantial decrease in the population of Central-European countries was a consequence of wars, famine and epidemics in the 17th century. As a result of the losses caused by the Turk occupation, the population of Hungary dropped at the end of the 17th century to 2.5–3 million people, the population of Bohemia and Moravia to 0.9 million and the population of Poland equaled 6 million people at the beginning of the 18th century (a drop from 10 million in the middle of the 17th century).355 A low level of population density stimulated feudal lords to grant concessions to the peasantry. To a certain extent, the feudal class relinquished their prerogatives obtained from political authorities and granted wide-ranging privileges to the settling population of peasants. The settlement movement understood as above lasted from the 13th to the 14th century in all Central-European societies. Thus, the period of German colonization and settlement with German Law, which brought about a substantial improvement of the situation of the peasantry, may be interpreted in terms of a decrease of the alienation of labor in model III of an economic society.

Let us now take a closer look at the mechanisms of the colonization.356 The organization of colonization involved three parties: a feudal lord, a promoter ←271 | 272→of the location (zasadźca), and peasant-colonists. Grand landowners predominantly initiated settlement because they were the first to obtain immunity, and they were able to bear all costs associated with the execution of German settlement, such as: integration of agricultural land, importation of settlers and, most importantly, all costs of securing proper economic conditions for settlers, which usually included dozen or so years of exemption from taxes and obligations.

A promoter of the location bore the greater part of direct costs associated with the process of location. For this reason, a successful location brought him the largest benefits. A promoter of location received the largest parcel of land – ca. 10 % of the settled terrain. The land was exempted from taxes and tithe. After a successful village location, the majority of promoters served as village headmen. This position brought further privileges, such as the right to catch fish, a share in taxes paid by millers and innkeepers, etc. In return for the received privileges, village headmen had a number of obligations. The most significant was to perform military service as a cavalry soldier. As early as in the 14th century, this service was passed to the chivalry via grants and purchase. Other duties of village headmen included collection of rent and tithe, offering hospitality to the lord of the village and to Church dignitaries. The most serious obligation was to exercise judicial authority, together with jurors selected from the village assembly (gromada). Village headmen received a substantial income from court fees.

The system of German Law was a reception of institutional solutions known at the West of Europe and applied by feudal lords with respect to the peasantry. Still, it was also a manifestation of economic concessions of the single class of owners. German Law endowed peasants with personal freedom and the right to leave the village. It guaranteed hereditary ownership of the land. Within their class, peasants could dispose of their land as they wished, sell, or rent it. However, the sale of land to another knight or Church required separate consent from the lord. Inhabitants of villages founded with German Law also enjoyed a guarantee of immovability from land, which they cultivated. Moreover, the village received a judicial self-government. Settlement of new terrains was accompanied by long-lasting exemptions from payments and taxes (around 10–15 years). ←272 | 273→These rights were vested not in individuals but in village communes. The privileges, which were initially granted only to settlers, were later extended to local population.

German colonization brought about direct benefits, such as a considerable increase of population potential of countries, in which German settlement was conducted. Population density of Bohemia, which was 6 people per square km in the 11th century, increased in the 14th century to 14. Hungary saw a similar population growth. In 1000, this country had a population of about 1 million. In the middle of the 13th century, in spite of the losses brought about by the Tartar invasion, the Hungarian society had 2 million people, and in the beginning of the 16th century it reached 4 million. At that time, Poland also observed a demographic increase. In the 11th century, the average population density was 5 people per square km. In the middle of the 14th century, the average population density was 8 people per square km to reach 15 people in the 16th century.357

German colonization and settlement with German Law contributed to the growth of productive forces in Central-European societies. Most changes in that respect were brought about by the spread of the three-field system. In the alternate-fallow system, an average family needed 34 ha of cultivated land to make a living, whereas they had the total of 100 ha to use. In contrast, in the three-field system, an average family could make a living of 4–8 ha. Following from this, in the three-field system the area of cultivated land equal to 100 ha could feed from 30 to 60 people.358 The 13th and the 14th centuries witnessed a widespread of newly invented agricultural tools. One of the most important tool was iron plough. Its iron parts were used to loosen heavier and more fertile soils, inaccessible to a shovel plough. At the same time, apart from the iron plough, other agricultural tools, such as frame harrows, scythes, spades, and axes, came into common use.359

The above changes in agricultural technology brought about a considerable increase in crop yield. In the 10th and the 11th centuries, the average harvest amounted to ca. 1.5–3 grains from one seed. Half of the acquired grain had to be reserved for the next year’s sowing. The other half, after the diminution of tributes and taxes, remained at the disposal of a peasant.360 As a result of changes ←273 | 274→in cultivation technology in the 13th and the 14th centuries, the yield increased to 3–4 grains from one seed and to 5 grains on some lands. As a result, average harvest ranged at that time from 4 to 5 grains from one seed. From the middle of the 12th century to the middle of the 14th century, agricultural production in Central Europe increased by around 30–65 %, and in certain areas it even doubled.361

As early as in the 12th century, German colonization and settlement with German Law covered the terrains between the rivers Oder and Elbe. At that time, certain groups of Romance origin were settling in Hungary. In the 13th and 14th centuries, German colonization reached Silesia, Pomerania, Greater Poland, Lesser Poland, Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Transylvania and Hungary, but also Prussia and Livonia. The center of German settlement was Silesia. It spread from there onto other terrains. There where ca. 1200 villages founded in Silesia in the years 1200–1350. From the 12th to the 14th century, according to German historiographic estimates, around 180,000–200,000 settlers were to have reached that land. Another important agglomeration of German settlement was Eastern Prussia. About 1400 villages were founded there, inhabited by 150,000 settlers.362

Grand ownership pursued German colonization to increase income. Under the conditions of low population density in Central-European countries, the only way to ensure stability and multiply income was to increase the number of serfs. The factor of shortage of manpower, according to Małowist, allows us to understand the mechanisms of reasons why grand ownership pursued German settlement:

[A]; relatively low population density of Central-Eastern and Eastern European countries was an important factors influencing rotation of workforce in rural areas. Due to a low level of population density, rulers and the aristocracy had to resort to economic means to stimulate inflow of foreign and domestic population, to end escapes and to encourage people to work harder.363

An additional factor facilitating organization of German settlement was the growing overpopulation of Western-European societies. At this time (between ←274 | 275→the 12th and the 14th centuries), Germany, a country neighboring Poland and Bohemia, with:

population density of around 20 people per square km, reached the maximum level of population advancement possible under the given level of productive forces in agriculture. Consequently, it was sending its population surplus to the east of Europe. Similarly, France was sending its population surplus to the remote terrains subjected to crusades.364

Małowist puts forward the following question: why did the reorganization of class relations in the agricultural segment take place at the turn of the 12th and the 13th centuries?365 His analysis consists of three factors. The period between the 10th and the 13th centuries in Poland, Hungary and Bohemia was characterized by a slow economic development, which deepened political disproportions between the above-listed countries and their considerably more powerful western neighbors. A vast difference in socio-economic potential could have threatened the political existence of the above-mentioned Central-European countries in the future. Moreover, in this period (the 12th and the 13th centuries), Central-European countries were in a situation of a political balance, which hindered acquisition of economic possessions through wars and invasions. Additionally, a consolidation of grand secular and church property took place. The Church was the first to be granted revenue and judicial privileges from rulers, and was able to initiate German settlement, a process which dynamized the economic development of Central Europe.

In my opinion, model III of an economic society developed in the previous chapter is capable of providing an answer to the question posed by Małowist. We should begin by stating that in the Middle Ages, virtually entire Europe experienced the following phenomenon: the class of owners was granting economic concessions to direct producers. The reason for granting concessions was different for Western and different for Central Europe. According to the model of feudal economy in n-Mhm, in the final stadium of the phase of an increasing alienation of labor, technological advancement brings about an emergence of a new economic sector. Initially, in the new sphere of production, namely the urban sector of economy, a lower level of alienation of labor prevails, in comparison to the old sector (agriculture). As a result, the most dissatisfied peasants (the class of direct producers of the old sphere of production) move to towns on a massive scale. Consequently, the growing social conflict in the old sphere ←275 | 276→of production (agriculture) sorts itself out spontaneously. However, a further exodus of the peasantry from rural areas may bring about a disorganization of production. Feudal lords introduce new systems of organization of production in order to stop the migration of the peasantry. They are more advantageous to the rural population and allow for achievement of higher income. Accordingly, the level of alienation of labor drops in the old system of production. Thus, the economic impact of the new sphere of production (the urban economy) forces the class of owners of the old sphere of production (agriculture) to grant concessions. Such a picture of historical development is emerging in light of the model of feudalism in n-Mhm.

In contrast, economic concessions in a typical Central-European society were not enforced by the competition between two alternate fields of production – the agricultural and the urban sector, but by the competition between owners belonging to the old sphere of production (feudal lords). According to model III of an economic society with a shortage of manpower, in order to increase profit to maximum, owners are forced to find a way to transform the system of division of the newly created production to the advantage of employees to acquire as many direct producers as possible. An increase of exploitation in a purely economic society is ineffective in a long-term perspective. Under the conditions of shortage of manpower, the alienation of labor does not increase endlessly. After reaching a certain level, increasing instances of escapes and migrations of the peasantry to owners who apply less severe forms of exploitation result with a disorganization of the production process. Pressured by the desertion of the peasantry, owners who introduce more rigorous systems of expropriation of the secondary product are forced to mitigate their ways not to lose the remaining producers. In a purely economic society – a society deprived of administrators of means of coercion, the level of alienation of labor stabilizes in the area of class peace. Following from this, in a society with a shortage of manpower, the only way to maximize profits is to acquire new direct producers by creating better working conditions, in which they will be able to achieve higher income. To answer the question why the reorganization of the class rule by grand ownership became possible as late as at the turn of the 12th and the 13th centuries, one must analyze the reasons for the collapse of the system of the “ducal law.” According to historians, the system of the Ius Ducale was based on a collective economic exploitation of the peasant population by the apparatus of state. Whether the apparatus of state exploited the peasants in its own interest, or whether it worked on behalf of another social class, does not exert a direct influence on the issue under study. Importantly, collective exploitation of the peasant population eliminated the competition between owners. In the times of competition, each owner ←276 | 277→had to fight for workforce. Noteworthy, under the conditions of shortage of manpower, competition between owners enforces economic concessions on the part of those in control of the means of production, which, in turn, brings about a global decrease of the level of alienation of labor. However, the above factor becomes ineffective in the system of state serfdom, where the apparatus of power, which is a collective owner of the workforce of direct producers, eliminates competition between owners. It was not until the dissolution of the system of the Ius Ducale, which brought about a creation of a single class of owners, which gained the greater part of its income from ownership of the means of production, and not from being part of political authorities. The process of granting concessions, which brought about a process of voluntary mitigation of serfdom, not enforced by a threat of peasant revolts, was initiated by the competition between feudal lords and the inability to refer to state authorities – between the 12th and the 14th centuries, Bohemian, Polish, and Hungarian societies experienced a feudal fragmentation and a collapse of political power.366

The level of population density in Central-European countries influenced the evolution of urban economy in this part of the continent. As a result of a lower level of population density, a lower number of people lived in Central-European towns in comparison to Western-European urban populations. Additionally, the emergence of the urban economic sector in Central Europe took place in the stadium of mitigation of exploitation, brought about by a shortage of manpower. As a result, rural population did not have to migrate to towns in search for better conditions of employment, as it was in Western Europe. For this reason, the urban population in Central Europe was smaller in comparison to the situation in Western-European towns. In the latter part of the continent, towns evolved with an increase of the alienation of labor in the agricultural sector of the economy. Following from this, the urban population in Central Europe was of foreign origin – particularly German and Jewish.

Let us now follow these processes in detail. In the 12th and the 13th century, technological progress and related phenomena, such as a growth in production and specialization and division of labor, gave rise to the development of towns in Central Europe. The urban reform usually began by granting legal autonomy to foreign merchants who lived in proto-urban settlements. A spatial location was the second stage. It usually consisted in founding towns from scratch or in reconstructing existing settlements. The municipal reform in this sense began at the turn of the 12th century. Population centers, which made a ←277 | 278→living outside farming, existed in that part of the continent as early as in the period from the 10th to the 12th centuries, and even in the pre-state period. Location consisted in establishing new towns or granting municipal rights to the centers of settlements, which had existed before location. The promoters of location were rulers, feudal lords or the Church. Locations brought profit to all parties involved: a owner, settlers-burghers and a promoter of location. A feudal lord, in consequence of a successful location, exercised control over rent that he received from the plots on lease, and obtained merchant and market fees, rent paid by craftsmen, etc.

Settlers, on the other hand, enjoyed suitable conditions for initiating an economic activity. They acquired their own jurisdiction and were granted exemptions from taxes. A feudal lord also bestowed privileges on them, which facilitated an economic and commercial activity. Here are examples of privileges: the privilege to set up a marketplace, exemption from customs, to have goods in stock, and the so-called “mile law” that restricted competition within rural craft by indicating the radius within which trade was prohibited.

Finally, location was rewarding for its promoter. He usually became a vogt (wójt), i.e., a representative of the feudal lord who was the founder of the town. The promoter usually received a larger plot of land; he enjoyed the right to use the lord’s woods and waters. Since he represented the owner, he also exercised judicial and supervisory authority, and enjoyed revenue and tax privileges. Municipal law in Central-European towns was based on the Magdeburg Law, whereas the organization of the Baltic towns was based on the Lübeck Law.367

The above reform has been introduced until the middle of the 13th century into 144 town centers in Central Europe, including 60 towns or 24 % of proto-urban centers in Poland, and 14 towns or 14 % of proto-urban centers in Bohemia.368 The location of towns should not be identified with urban self-government, which usually appeared later, simultaneously with the formation of the town council. As a result, in the initial period, urban authority belonged to the representative of a feudal lord – the town headman. However, after some period of diarchy, a town council usually bought out the rights of the owner of the town. Purchase of the town headman’s rights was considered the third stage ←278 | 279→in the evolution of Central-European towns and took place later, in the 14th and 15th centuries.369

Following from this, it is evident that Central-European towns evolved under the patronage of grand ownership, rather than in opposition to it. As a result, Central Europe did not witness an urban revolution that was characteristic for Western Europe of the 10th and 11th centuries, during which burghers gained independence and autonomy from feudal lords. Another characteristic trait of Central-European towns was their small size. In his comparison of towns of Western and Eastern Europe, Henryk Samsonowicz states, for instance, that around 1450 Europe had about 4,000 settlements called towns.370 About two thirds of that number were rural settlements. Out of 14 largest towns (with a population of over 40,000) only three were situated in Eastern Europe: Moscow, Prague and Constantinople. Out of those three, only Prague, ranking low within the category of the largest towns, was situated in Central Europe. Out of the around 40 large towns with a population ranging from 20,000 to 40,000, five were situated in Eastern Europe: Lübeck, Gdańsk, Novgorod, Wrocław, and Thessaloniki. Thus, Central Europe in the middle of the 15th century had only 3 large towns. About 80 towns belonged to the category of medium towns, with a population ranging from 8,000 to 20,000 inhabitants. In Eastern Europe, there were about 30 towns that belonged to that category. They included Cracow, Toruń, Elbląg, Lvov, a few Silesian towns, Kaliningrad, Riga, Szczecin, Wismar, Stralsund, Rostock, Magdeburg, and a few Russian, Bohemian, and Balkan towns. In Central Europe of that period, there were around 20 medium-sized towns that is ca. 25 % of the overall number of towns from that category. There were around 120 small towns with a population of 2,000–4,000 in Eastern Europe among around 400 towns of that size.

The weakness of Central-European towns, in comparison to the rapid development of Western-European urban centers, affected the nature of trade exchange between the Western and Central Europe. A unilateral trade exchange between the two parts of the continent developed in the late Middle Ages. Such state of affairs was maintained and even extended in the modern period. A shift ←279 | 280→in trade routes took place at that time: Levantine and Mediterranean commerce lost its importance and was replaced by Atlantic and Baltic trade. Additionally, the type of traded commodities changed: mass-consumption goods gained advantage over luxury articles.371 In the course of trade exchange, the countries of the Baltic region – Poland, Prussia, Lithuania, Brandenburg, and Pomerania – predominantly exported raw materials and agricultural products: grain, hemp, flax, wood, tar, birch tar, leather, and fur. At the same time, they imported highly processed craft products, particularly woolen cloth, textile goods, and luxury articles from Western Europe.372 The more advanced development of Western Europe forced a specific type of economic ties and consolidated the backward economic structure of Central-European countries:

The West underwent transformations, which exerted a considerable influence on the developmental path of Eastern Europe and caused its economy to gain a number of specific features. The structure of demand imposed by the western countries directed the countries of the Baltic region toward a path of unilateral development of production of raw materials and grain.373

A so-called price revolution of the 16th century was an additional factor consolidating this type of economic exchange. In the course of the 16th century, prices increased from four to seven times on average (annual increase amounted to around 2–3 %).374 The above phenomenon brought about an uneven increase in prices – higher for agricultural and animal produce, and lower for craft products. The price revolution strengthened the agricultural structure of Eastern-European countries and the monopolistic position of the nobility because the same amount of grain could be sold for a greater number of craft products.375 ←280 | 281→The above-mentioned factors led to an urbanization crisis, which affected the Central-European countries under study at various times. The first symptoms of the crisis were visible in Hungary at the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries. Bohemian towns were afflicted with the crisis in the second half of the 16th century; in Poland, the urban sector suffered a crisis at the turn of the 16th and the 17th centuries.376

One of the most fundamental historical observations is the acknowledgement of the underdevelopment of the urban sphere in Central-European countries. However, an explanation of this phenomenon in presented somehow ambiguously. According to the model of feudal economy in n-Mhm, in the final stadium of the phase of the increase of the alienation of labor, the growth of productive forces leads to an emergence of a separate sphere of production, a process, which, in Western Europe, resulted in the rise and development of towns. However, it is noteworthy that the emergence of the new sphere of production did not necessarily result in the development of urban economy. The new sphere of production could have existed in the same territorial and institutional framework as the old one.

Following from this, towns were a universal phenomenon.377 Towns existed in Chinese, Indian, and Islamic civilizations, which arose in accordance with other social dependencies than did European societies. To be sure, class factors influenced the character of the evolution of towns. However, class factors are responsible for only part of the nature of this phenomenon. I would argue that its more significant part could be explained with civilizational factors. Nonetheless, let us consider how much could be interpreted from the viewpoint of the n-Mhm – a theory focused predominantly on class aspects of history (economic, but also political and cultural).

The urban sector evolved in the two parts of Europe non-simultaneously – earlier in the West (in the 10th and the 11th centuries) and later in Central Europe (at the turn of the 12th and the 13th centuries). This difference resulted from the unevenly technological growth. The West underwent a technological progress earlier, due to the population crisis.378 Technological advancement was ←281 | 282→introduced to Central Europe from the outside. The fact that towns emerged in the two parts of the continent non-simultaneously affected the nature of trade ties between Western and Central Europe. The products of Central-European craftsmanship were introduced to the European market later and, as a result, had to compete with already present and more advanced Western-European craftsmanship. The barrier of a later start has never been overcome. Consequently, since the late medieval age, individual Central-European societies have specialized in exporting raw materials, minerals, and agricultural products. In turn, Western Europe, in turn, exported highly processed craftsmanship – and, subsequently, industrial products – to Central-European countries.

The rise and development of towns took place in the two parts of Europe during different phases of social ties between owners and direct producers of the agrarian economic system. In Western Europe the urban sphere originated in the phase of the increased alienation of labor. Initially, the alienation of labor was lower in the urban sphere of production, in comparison to the situation in agriculture, and it brought about a mass migration from the old sphere of production (rural) to the new one (urban). Hence, the process of emergence of the urban sphere unfolded in opposition to the class of owners of the old sphere of production (feudal lords). In contrast, in Central Europe, the urban sphere emerged in the period of the decreased alienation of labor and prevailing class peace. In this stadium of social development, direct producers did not have to resort to migration to towns in order to achieve a higher income. For this reason, migration of the native workforce to towns was less substantial and the urban population in Central Europe was smaller. Moreover, there were a considerable percentage of German and Jewish populations in Central-European towns (Jewish settlement in Poland begun in the 13th and the 14th centuries, following persecutions in Western Europe). In some layers (the patriciate), the population of foreign origin gained absolute dominance over the native population.

To recapitulate the above considerations we could state that the underdevelopment of the urban sphere in Central Europe was a consequence of a late emergence of towns in this region. The delay was responsible for establishing a unilateral trade exchange between Western and Central Europe. Additionally, Central-European towns emerged in the phase of class peace prevailing in the rural economic system. This fact hindered acquisition of the required size of workforce. A low level of population density in respective Central-European societies additionally deepened the above problems.

The economic weakness of the urban sphere of production was reflected in a lesser social importance of burghers in comparison to their social position n Western Europe. In her studies on the social activity of Central-European ←282 | 283→burghers, Maria Bogucka adopts E. Lousse’s categories of the three levels of estate awareness.379 This is said to be composed of: (1) the ability to form occasional coalitions of defensive nature, (2) the ability to create permanent alliances in defense of common interests, (3) the ability to force estate privileges. According to Bogucka, Polish burghers achieved the first level of estate awareness. They were capable of forming temporary confederations to protect their interests and to participate in the confederations of the nobility. This capability was characteristic of Polish towns only until the middle of the 15th century. Since the second half of the 15th century, they have not even formed occasional, defensive confederations. In contrast, Bohemian and Hungarian merchants reached the second stage of estate awareness. Burghers in those countries participated in the Hussite Revolution and Reformation, and joined the nobility in the struggle against the Habsburgs; also, they had the right to nominate its representatives to Parliament. However, the basic feature of political systems in Hungary, Bohemia and Poland was the supremacy of the nobility in representative institutions. That advantage allowed the nobility to influence and control the enactment of law and the activity of the state, which served the interests of the domineering social class. As early as in the first half of the 15th century (in 1437 in Bohemia, in 1496 in Poland, and in 1514 in Hungary), they issued legal acts against the migration of peasants. State regulations, which limited the freedom of the peasantry, were considerably easier to enforce due to the weakness of burghers and the insignificant role of the urban labor market. According to the comparison made by Arcadius Kahan:

The role of the cities was also different in the Western and Eastern Europe. While in the West most of the cities developed into corporate bodies with charters guaranteeing the freedom of the city-dwellers and therefore sometimes served as an escape route from serfdom, in Eastern Europe many of the cities did not possess such charters, or were owned by large serf owners and could not provide the escape valve for serfs.380

Political domination of Central-European nobility enabled introduction of serfdom and of restrictions to the development of the urban sphere. The above factors, together with a shortage of workforce, have contributed to the distinctiveness of Central Europe. A prerequisite to understanding the causes of the emergence of a manorial-serf economy is predominantly an analysis of social relations between the class of owners and the direct producers of the old sphere ←283 | 284→of production (nobility versus peasantry). The relations between owners and direct producers were considerably influenced by a deficiency of manpower. In agreement with the almost unanimous opinion of historians, the introduction of the second serfdom in Central Europe was forced by a shortage of workforce. Owners responded to the increasing demand for manpower of direct producers with bounding peasants to land. The introduction of serfdom was supposed to prevent escapes and ensure stability of manpower. According to Longworth, for instance, serfdom was brought about only by economic factors:

Rising prices certainly encouraged landlords and even some peasants to sell more grain for cash but the readiest means of increasing production at that time was to take more land under cultivation, and there was still plenty of wasteland that could be cleared and ploughed. On the other hand there was scarcity of people to do the work. In England the population shortage following the Black Death in the fourteenth century had had the effect of freeing peasants; in Poland, Prussia, Russia, and the Habsburg territories, on the other hand, the relative scarcity of labor served to complete their subjection and intensify their exploitation.381

Meanwhile, according to model III of an economic society with a shortage of manpower, the class of owners is forced to considerably mitigate exploitation. In a purely economic society – a society deprived of the influence of the disposers of centralized means of coercion and the disposers of means of indoctrination, institutions of economic life and social consciousness organizing collective thinking on socio-economic life – an alienation of labor can rise to a certain level. If this level is attained, instances of escapes of direct producers effectively disintegrates the production process in a way that owners are forced to grant a number of concessions in order to ensure continuity of the production process. To end the migration of workforce, they introduce amendments to the method of division of live product or revise the rules of ownership. Following from this, in a purely economic society with a shortage of manpower, a long-lasting declassation of direct producers is impossible. However, this is the direction of evolution in the abstract reality of the model. In a historical reality, a combined impact of a cascade of factors overbalanced the developmental trends outlined in model III. Among these factors were not only the relations between the nobility and burghers but also those between the nobility and state authorities. If the nobility was successful in securing its interests in both networks of social relations, it guaranteed economic exploitation of the peasantry. State authorities, subjected to the interests of the nobility, withdrew from regulating economic ←284 | 285→relations in the rural economic system. As a result, the nobility gained additional instruments of state coercion, which could have been used against direct producers. Additionally, the weak position of the authorities influenced relations between burghers and the nobility. The advantage of the nobility over burghers increased when the former gained the ability to employ instruments of state coercion. When the development of urban economy was limited, competitiveness of that sphere of production dropped, which, in turn, indirectly strengthened the position of the nobility against the peasantry. A superior position of the nobility in one social subsystem depended on its superior position in the other, and vice versa.

In that configuration of factors that were constantly present in the cascade of European differentiation, the shortage of manpower played various functions at different stages of social development. When nobility could not resort to means of coercion used by the centralized state apparatus (the period of feudal division), the scarcity of manpower extorted from the nobility concessions granted to the direct producers. However, when, the nobility succeeded in subjugating the state and limiting the influence of the urban sphere (its weakness was among other thing conditioned by a low level of population density), that factor stimulated the restoration of serfdom and a considerable increase of exploitation. The core of the cascade of the European differentiation present in each of the three Central-European societies under study, can be demonstrated graphically in the following way:

←285 | 286→

At this scheme, the scarce supply of manpower tempered the increase of the level of alienation of labor in the rural sector of production. However, the improvement in the economic situation of peasantry hindered the growth of cities and at the same time made it difficult to obtain sufficient manpower. The underdevelopment of towns enabled the increase of the alienation of labor in the agricultural sector of the economy and allowed the nobility to subordinate the state to its interests. As a result, the nobility could implement state means for further weakening of the position of towns and intensification of the exploitation of the rural sector of economy. The decline of peasants’ income brought about the decrease of the purchasing power of the largest social group and blocked the developmental perspectives of the urban sphere of production. An additional factor, which played the role of a catalyst of social changes, was the demand for grain, both domestic and foreign, which accelerated the rise and the accumulation of the cascade of European differentiation.

The distinctive developmental path of Central Europe was not brought about by a single factor, but was a consequence of a multi-factor influence. At a certain moment, a gradual accumulation of these variables predominated over the impact of basic developmental mechanisms outlined in model III of an economic society. In contrast, Western-European societies evolved in accordance with them (the plague epidemic brought about a temporary shortage of manpower) because such a number of counteractive factors did not appear there. Many historians, who deal with the history of that region, share intuitions proving that the developmental characteristics of Central Europe were a consequence of a multi-factor influence. For example, Peter Longworth expresses the following opinion:

And there was a plethora of other factors which intervened at various point with varying intensity to influence the course things took. Linguistic differences, for example, sometimes fed into religious and political struggles; and social classes sometimes gained and lost constitutional rights according to the religion they embraced at particular moment. Low population density in Poland-Lithuania contributed to the enserfment of the peasant. […] The Baltic grain boom had helped to promote serfdom, yet the end of the boom around the turn of the century served not to remove serfdom but entrench it. […] The interactions of circumstances and catalysts that shaped Eastern Europe in the period from 1526 to 1648 far exceeded in complexity the most complicated transmutation process in any alchemist’s laboratory.382

←286 | 287→

Within the cascade of European differentiation one can distinguish factors, which form its core, and those, which characterize only some developmental paths of particular societies. The countries discussed above also had a different pace of growth of the cascade of European distinctiveness. It is demonstrated by an uneven development of a manorial-serf economy in each of the three societies. In Poland, a manorial-serf economy appeared in the course of the 16th century, in Hungary in the second half of that century, and in Bohemia as late as in the 17th century. The presence of additional factors proving developmental characteristics of each of the Central-European societies and various pace of the growth of the cascade of European differentiation allows discerning regional variants, which shaped the distinctive nature of development, namely the Polish, Hungarian, and Bohemian variants.

Except for the division of factors into those common to all Central-European societies and those specific to particular developmental paths, one can offer an alternative division by distinguish the following factors:

(1) internal – determining the development of social relations in each of the three distinguished subsystems: between the class of owners and the class of direct producers of the rural sector of the economy, between the owners of the old and the new sphere of production, and between the class of owners of the old sphere of production and the class of rulers;

(2) external – of economic type; this type of factors includes, for instance, high demand for agricultural products in Western Europe. This demand enforced the economic position of the owners of the old sphere of production against other social classes;

(3) external – of political type; this type of factors includes political conquest and war devastations, which disrupted the balance between social classes in a given country.

The shortage of manpower plays a key role in this conceptual scheme. It was the earliest factor to appear from the cascade of European differentiation, its impact lasted throughout the entire historical period under study and this impact was present in each of the historical societies under study. Let us now analyze separate regional variants of the cascade of European differentiation: Polish, Hungarian and Bohemian.

2.2 The Polish Variant

Grand landownership arose in consequence of the disintegration of the Ius Ducale in the 12th and the 13th centuries. According to model III of an economic ←287 | 288→society, the low level of population density – in the 10th century Poland was populated by ca. 1 million people – forced the class of owners to grant economic concessions to the peasantry. The developing grand feudal ownership strove to increase its income through the development of German colonization and settlement with on German Law, which also improved the wealth of the native peasantry. Economic changes were already in progress and contributed to the development of an urban economy at the turn of the 13th century. According to model IV of feudal society, the above processes can be interpreted as an emergence of the division of the economy into two spheres of production: agriculture and craft. Changes in the structure of the economic system were accompanied by transformations in the structure of political life – at the beginning of the 14th century, after state fragmentation, the Polish state experienced a unification. In light of the political theory of n-Mhm, centralization of state authority brought about an increase of state control. One of the sources, which allowed the class of owners to increase their scope of social impact, was a division of the class of owners into two categories: knighthood (owners of the old sphere of production) and burghers (owners of the new sphere of production).

Since the end of the 14th century, there has been a counter trend in the relations between a particular fraction of the civil class (owners of the old sphere of production) and the class of rulers – the sphere of political autonomy of a certain group of citizens increased and the sphere of state control decreased. The process can be best traced with reference to the example of the development of the nobility’s privileges and the formation of the system of democracy of nobility. As early as in 1372, the Polish king reduced tax paid by the nobility from 14 grosz to 2 grosz from 1 łan (ca. 15 ha) and announced that he would not impose any new taxes without the consent of the nobility. The privilege of 1422 forbade confiscation of estates owned by the nobility, and another one of 1433 prohibited imprisonment of a nobleman without a binding court order. Thus, the initial privileges protected civil rights and economic property. In the second half of the 15th century, the principles of the system of the democracy of nobility were formed. In 1454 in Nieszawa, Casimir Jagiellonian accepted the principle that all significant decisions – such as proclaiming new rights and summoning a mass levy – required consent from the nobility, expressed at regional assemblies (sejmiki). General Sejm (Polish parliament), composed of the delegates of the nobility chosen at the regional assemblies, was constituted at the end of the 15th century. In 1505, that new institution was reinforced by the Nihil Novi law, which prohibited the king from establishing new laws without the consent of the Chamber of Deputies. Subsequently, the position of the nobility was reinforced at the expense of the prerogatives of central authorities after the extinction of ←288 | 289→the Jagiellon dynasty and the introduction of the elective throne. Every newly elected king had to sign the so-called Henrician Articles and the Pacta Conventa. The Henrician Articles were a collection of fundamental laws, which formed the backbone of the political system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They guaranteed the elective succession of the throne, religious tolerance, the duty to call the Sejm for 6 weeks at least once every two years and prohibited levying new taxes without the consent of the Chamber of Deputies. Should these provisions be infringed on, the nobility would have the right to refuse obedience to the King.

In the 17th century, the process of decentralization of the system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was initiated. In the face of the growing paralysis of central state institutions – since 1648 the resolutions of the Sejm had to be unanimous by virtue of the liberum veto, more and more competencies concentrated in local institutions, at the level of regional assemblies. Those changes in the functioning of the system of the Polish Republic were associated with changes in the estate of the nobility – the declining importance of the middle nobility, which supported the Executionist movement in the 16th century, and the rise of the significance of the magnates. The emergence of the oligarchy of magnates was the social element, which supported transformations of the system.

The above situation was a result of the same factors, as in other Central-European countries. Polish towns came to existence later than Western-European towns, in a different phase of social relations between owners and direct producers of the old sphere of production (a decrease of the alienation of labor), in comparison to towns in a typical western society. In Poland, similarly to the situation in other Central-European countries, towns formed in the period of the decreasing alienation of labor in the rural production sector. This decrease of the alienation of labor created obstacles for achieving an optimal level of manpower because the peasantry was not forced to migrate to towns in order to achieve higher income. Western-European towns did not experience such difficulties because they evolved in the phase of the increasing alienation of labor in the old sphere of production. Initially the level of alienation of labor in the new sphere of production was lower than in the old one; thus, direct producers migrated to the new sphere of production on a massive scale. As a result, Western-European towns could develop more dynamically.

Apart from the above-listed factors characteristic for the entire region under study, cascade factors, which range was limited to the Polish territory, have also played a certain role in the consolidation of the weakness of towns.

The urban patriciate, predominantly of German origin, was not interested in uniting the Polish state by the Piast dynasty in the 13th and the 14th centuries. In ←289 | 290→that period, patriciate representatives supported the idea of uniting Polish lands with the Bohemian or Hungarian states. Preference of the above political option was affected by vivid trade contacts with the European countries situated in the south of Poland.383 Burgher elites repeated their faulty policy. When the political foundations of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were being created, burghers were not interested in participating in representative bodies, which were dominated by the nobility because they preferred to negotiate directly with the king in matters of concern to them.384 Political weakness of the inhabitants of towns also resulted from the structure of the burgher estate. Poland did not have burgher elites with financial potential allowing it to conduct an effective policy.385 Moreover, in Poland, because of the decentralization of power and the enormous significance of the nobility, there were no significant reasons for an alliance between the throne and burghers. As Antoni Mączak maintains:

In order to engage in the matters of the state, towns required a strong impulse. According to the Western model, it might have been an alliance between burgher elites and the state apparatus. In most monarchies, this apparatus expanded and rulers sought both loyal and professional officials. In Poland, the self-government of the nobility did not offer satisfactory conditions: the state apparatus did not expand and there was no place in it for the plebeians.386

According to Mączak, the decentralized political system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which blocked the careers of burgher elites, was brought about by territorial vastness manifested in the time it took for information to be disseminated, and the privileges of the nobility, which eliminated the rise of the king’s absolutism:

It could be put as follows: the space to be controlled by the authority was too vast for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to function efficiently as a state while preserving the privileges of the nobility. Actual decentralization was a consequence of many factors – systemic (privileges), technical (poor ties of social communication) and finally socio-economic (concentration of property). The authority of magnates understood as a ←290 | 291→counterbalance to the monarchy was in a certain sense a function of the territorial size of state.387

The domination of the class of rulers (organized into a state) by the owners of the old sector of economy (nobility), accompanied by initial weakness of the new sphere of production, was self-perpetuating in nature. The political authority controlled by the nobility was turning into a tool that regulated the urban sphere of production. This regulation was performed for the social interests of the nobility. The state control of the urban sector limited its developmental potential, which further undermined social balance between the nobility and burghers. This subsequently restricted the room for manoeuvre of the political authority and led to yet more evident subordination of the state to the social interests of the nobility. As a result, the nobility, which had at its disposal the means of production but also subjected those in control of the means of coercion, was able to increasingly enforce their interests in the public life.

Symptoms of anti-municipal policy were visible at the dawn of the 15th century.388 In 1496, a ban was issued prohibiting the purchase of land by burghers. Moreover, the townspeople were removed from higher church and state offices: including land, crown and court offices, and the office of a county administrator (starostwo). In 1496 and 1509, after the nobility was exempted from customs duties, the entire burden of paying duties was imposed on burghers. In contrast, the nobility could import and export any quantity of commodities duty-free. In 1538, there was a failed attempt at abolishing the guilds. At the same time, political authority opened the domestic market to foreign merchants. Until that moment, foreign merchants could run their economic activity only as wholesalers. Simultaneously, in 1565, the local burghers were forbidden to leave Poland to engage in foreign trade. However, in fact, the above ban was not obeyed. In the middle of the 16th century, voivode fees were introduced – administratively fixed price rates for town products set by a voivode (wojewoda). It is worth mentioning that a free market shaped the price of grain, which was a basic serfdom-based farm product. Another factor, which weakened the position of towns, were the so-called jurydyki. They were properties of the nobility within towns, which were not subject to urban jurisdiction. Very often, the nobles settled craftsmen there to carry out production beyond guild regulations. The control over economic life by state authorities was exercised solely in the nobility’s ←291 | 292→interests. That social group also forced burghers out of the most profitable activities, for instance, in the 16th century ca. 70 % of rafting down the Vistula river was controlled by the nobility.

In the following centuries the degradation of burghers deepened even more. In the 17th and the 18th centuries, they were not allowed to take up any of remunerated state offices or to hold church functions. They were also deprived of the right to serve in the army, which was the only way for one’s elevation to the rank of the nobility. At the same time, the judicial autonomy and urban self-government were practically abolished. The history of the urban sphere in the Polish -Lithuanian Commonwealth was, as Maria Bogucka and Henryk Samsonowicz maintain, entirely incomparable to the development of towns in Western Europe:

The main trait of the modern epoch was a rapid emancipation of burghers and their development, which brought about fundamental changes in class, economic and hierarchical arrangements of contemporary societies. Against this background, the Polish Republic was an exceptional terrain: the monopolization of social, economic, and political life by the nobility reached the level that was unparalleled anywhere else. Many researchers also point out that the particular situation of our towns and their inhabitants from the 16th to the 18th century was one of the principal factors to have caused unfavorable peculiarities and a dangerous distortion of the entire Polish historical process in that epoch.389

Social consequences of that developmental distortion brought about a weakening of state authority. As Samsonowicz remarks:

In almost all places where the urban population played the same or insubstantially less important role than the nobility in the life of the country, due to the privileges and real financial opportunities, and where antagonistic interests were involved among various professional groups, there the king’s authority grew as a mediator of conflict between estates. There, strong modern states were also formed. (…) The position of the state was undermined by the weakness of any of social forces.390

The subordination of political authorities to the nobility brought two-fold consequences. First, the social role of burghers and of the urban labor market were limited. Second, the impairment of burghers’ social position allowed the use of tools of state regulation to increase income to maximum in the own sector of economy. The weakness of burghers and the urban sphere of production was essential not only for social relations between the state and nobility but also for economic relations between the nobility and the peasantry.

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In a typical Western society, the urban sphere of production created an alternative labor market. As long as a low level of alienation of labor prevailed in that sector of economy, it enforced, in fear of the migration of the peasantry to towns, a similarly low level of alienation of labor in agriculture. The crisis of the urban sphere at the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries in the modern Polish economy diminished the impact of the alternative labor market and allowed the nobility to impose ever-greater burdens on the peasantry.

In a purely economic society, the shortage of manpower is a factor curbing the growth of the alienation of labor. In fear of direct producers escaping to owners who offer more advantageous working conditions, the nobility granted concessions. Owners benefit more from exploiting a larger number of producers in a milder way, than from exploiting a smaller number of producers in a more severe way. However, the above mechanisms only apply to a purely economic society deprived of the class of rulers. In contrast, in a society with a political authority, which is subordinated to ownership, the factor of shortage of manpower is too weak to enforce a low level of alienation of labor. The class of owners may use state control to maximize profit. One of the consequences of state intervention may be, for instance, a limitation of the freedom to move, which, in turn, under the conditions of shortage of manpower, hinders the increase of exploitation. Following from this, an increase of the alienation of labor under the conditions of shortage of workforce is possible only in a society with an underdeveloped urban sphere and a political authority subordinated to the class of owners.

An increase of the alienation of labor in the rural sphere took place in the organizational and institutional framework of a manorial-serf economy experienced. However, reinforcement of serfdom was a prerequisite for the development of the villein service. The Wiślicki Statute proclaimed by Casimir the Great imposed restrictions on leaving the village without the lord’s consent to just one peasant family annually. The Statute for Greater Poland imposed additional requirements on leaving the farm in good condition. As Leonid Żytkowicz points out, that was only an introduction to serfdom. The development of serfdom should not be linked with an increase in the villein service, which was then insignificant, as it amounted to a dozen or so days annually. The binding of peasants to land was caused by that fact that:

grand ownership constantly struggled with the deficit of settlers indispensable for the management of the estate (let us remember that we are discussing the period of rent, and not the manorial economy). In a reversed situation, if there were a lot of candidates to settle on the lord’s land, it would probably not come to the growth of glaebae adscriptio. ←293 | 294→It was in the interest of the feudal class to retain the settler in the country, in order to secure the feudal lord’s income in the form of tributes and rents.391

The next stage in limitation of instances of escapes and migrations of the peasantry occurred in the second half of the 15th century. The Piotrków Sejm in 1496 limited the right to leave the village, subject to the lord’s consent, to one family annually. Only one son, providing he was not the only son, could leave the village. The Sejm provisions from 1501–1511 additionally tightened those regulations by extending them to include the children of peasants’ families. The regulations were supposed to protect the nobility against the desertion of peasants and the danger of depopulation of the country.392

The above process of imposition of serfdom was accompanied by another, independent process of accumulation of lands within institutional framework of the noble’s demesne. It is assumed that the manors of the nobility descended from the own farms of ordinary knighthood (praedium militarae), which were intended for subsistence farming.393 With the rise of the commodity-monetary economy, the output of own farms shifted toward commercial production. The acreage of the farms was enlarged at the expense of fallow, uncultivated lands (so-called empty łan) and buying out village headmen’s manors (folwarki sołtysie).394 Another way to expand a noble’s demesne was through acquiring a better land farmed by the peasantry in exchange for lower-quality land (rugi).395 In total, in the 16th century, the own farm of the manor owner covered around 25 % of arable land used by the village, which amounted to about 3.5 łan (ca. 60 ha).396

Compulsory serf labor (pańszczyzna) was the main burden imposed on peasant farms.397 However, peasants had to perform other kinds of obligations ←294 | 295→apart from mentioned earlier villein service. One of them was rent of 30–60 grosz paid from one peasant łan (łan kmiecy). Apart from pecuniary performances, peasants were obliged to bring tributes in kind. Among them were sepy, equal to 1–6 bushels of oat or 1–2 bushels of rye or wheat from one peasant łan. Moreover, peasants provided certain amounts of eggs, poultry, and cheese. Apart from permanent services, there were also occasional obligations, such as: powaby, which were additional labor services usually lasting a few days (4) required at the time of an extraordinary accumulation of work, or przewozy in a form of transporting various goods to specified places, most often a point of rafting grain or a mill. At the end of the 16th century, stróża became popular – an obligation to keep watch over the manor at night.

The fundamental peasant service, which guaranteed an economic profitability of a manor, was compulsory serf labor. In the 16th century, there was a number of different types of this villein service. One of them was unlimited serf labor, which length and frequency was wholly at the discretion of the manor’s owner. In the period of the emergence of manorial farms, this kind of villein service was already fading. Another type of compulsory serf labor usually found in church properties was jutrznia. A peasant (kmieć) providing this service had to perform the complete work associated with cultivation of a given parcel of land. The most popular form of compulsory serf labor was service defined annually or weekly. It determined the number of working days in a week or in a year. Kmiecie – peasants who owned a farm composed of 1 full łan – performed work using draught animals, and zagrodnicy performed it on foot.398 According to Andrzej Wyczański’s calculations, in the 16th century, in a manorial farm of an average acreage that belonged to a nobleman, the compulsory serf labor was not the only kind of labor. The nobility additionally used hired labor. In the general balance of manpower, villein service accounted for ca. 41.2 % of workdays, whereas hired labor for 58.8 %. A considerable share of hired labor resulted from the fact that workmen were usually hired for the period of 300 full days during a year, whereas peasants who possessed their own farms worked less, depending on the time of the year, from 1 to 4 days weekly. However, the larger the acreage of a manor and the number of villages, the higher the share of the villein service. The profitability of manorial production relied on the possibility of using this kind of compulsory labor. Compulsory serf labor was also the main burden imposed on the peasantry, and its scope has gradually increased in the course of the 16th century. In 1520, the Bydgoszcz-Toruń Statutes set the serf labor load at 1 day per week per ←295 | 296→1 łan of peasant land. The real increase in villein service that occurred later was not reflected in the provisions of the Sejm. Based on Wyczański’s calculations, it grew from 1 to 3–4 days a week in the course of the 16th century.

The nobility demesne specialized in cultivation of grain for sale. According to Wyczański’s calculations, around 60 % of the manorial production was sold on the market, both domestic and foreign.399 The demand for Polish grain had persisted since the late Middle Ages, however, the increase in the prices of agricultural goods on the European market from the 16th century onwards provided the impulse to develop export.400 Between the first and the eighth decade of the 16th century, the prices for four grains grew by average 292 %, compared with 166 % for animal products and only 45 % for craft products.401 The export of Polish grain was a response to the above shift in prices. Annual sales abroad amounted to ca. 100,000 tons of grain402. That accounted for 2.5 % of the total production of grain in Poland.403

The development of a manorial-serf economy based on villein service brought about social consequences for the economic situation of direct producers of the rural economic system and for the developmental prospects of the urban sector. The increase of villein service caused a decline in the productivity of peasant farms. That, in turn, brought about a growing naturalization of the peasant economy. Peasants, after performing their villein service, could produce enough to support themselves and their draught animals, which were used in fieldwork. Additionally, the decline in peasant production limited market contacts of the peasantry with a town. A peasant was not only a seller of his own products but also a purchaser of craft goods. The drop in peasant income undermined the foundations of domestic craft production. As a result, in the 17th and the 18th centuries, the urban sector of economy was reduced to a size regulated by the demand of direct producers from the rural sphere of production. The impact of ←296 | 297→factors in the Polish version of the cascade of developmental differentiation can be demonstrated graphically in the following way:

The peculiar feature of the socio-economic development of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was absence of peasant revolutions. Interestingly, considerable social revolutions were absent only from the rural sphere of production. In a number of Polish towns: Gdańsk, Elbląg, Królewiec (Kaliningrad), Cracow, and Lvov, common people protested against the patriciate in the first half of the 16th century in response to economic problems. Common people demanded abolishment of economic privileges of the patriciate, which held the highest power in towns, and control over the finances of the urban authorities. The strictly economic postulates included: abolishment of usury, monopoly and privileges of large commercial companies. The tensions were pacified with a reform of the municipal system. Apart from the two already existing self-governmental institutions, namely board and council, a third one was introduced – the so-called third order (trzeci ordynek) composed of the representatives of the common people. The second wave of protests took place at the turn of the 16th century in larger production centers. The social conflict between the associations of apprentices and the guild masters concerned solely the issue ←297 | 298→of pay.404 The protests ended as soon as masters agreed to higher salaries of the apprentices.

Larger social revolutions did not spread to the rural economic sector due to an array of external and internal factors. For instance, an increase in prices on agricultural products, which compensated for the drop of peasant income, brought about by the increase of villein service and other burdens.405 According to Wyczański’s calculations, the real peasant income grew 3–4 times during the 16th century. An uneven increase in prices on agricultural and craft products brought about the improvement of the economic situation of the peasantry.406

The internal factors, which prevented the peasantry from starting a revolution, included a slow pace of development of serfdom and of the increase of compulsory serf labor.407 Noteworthy, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was characterized by an uneven population density. The country had demographic centers and peripheries. The crown lands had the population of around 20 people per square km, and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania or Ukraine had the population of maximum 2 people per square km. Migration from central terrains to peripheral terrains, where exploitation was respectively lower, grew with the increase of exploitation. The nobility succeeded in subordinating the state to its interests and begun using it to proclaim serfdom and to introduce an increase in villein service; however, the weakness of the state apparatus of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth prevented any effective execution of these decisions. Let us now refer to Jan Rutkowski’s view:

Polish state authorities insubstantially limited the power of lords over serfs, however the nobility could not fully benefit from the situation, particularly due to the low level of population density, which facilitated the position of the peasantry against the grand ownership. On the other hand, the weakness of state authorities prevented them from appropriately securing the interests of grand ownership. The above factors, namely the low level of population density and the weakness of state authorities, occasionally protected the interests of the peasantry to a much greater degree, than legislation designed to defend the peasantry in situation when state authorities were powerful enough to protect grand ownership against the “lawlessness” of the peasantry, but too weak to make sure that the legislation was abided.408

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Under the conditions of low density of population, the peasantry used desertion to protect itself from the increase of exploitation. According to Wyczański:

A more effective way to hurt a nobleman […] is migration of the peasantry. The most significant role of escapes was a form of class struggle. […] The desertion of peasants from one landowner to another was effective because all landowners had a high demand on peasants, which led to a conflict between them.


The mass character of desertion and the fact that it was relatively easy to carry out resulted in the fact that social meaning of migration was enormous. The escapes, or even fear of them was the principal factor, which curbed the increase of feudal burdens and which protected the peasantry against injustice and malpractice. It was the only factor, which was able to effectively limit the development of manorial farms, the impunity of lords and their officials, and to make it harder for them to take farms, tools, and property from peasants.409

The stream of peasant deserters headed toward Ukraine, and more particularly, the following provinces with a low level of population density, namely – Volhynian, Kiev, and Bratslav provinces. Following the incorporation of the above-listed provinces to the Crown in 1569, they were subjected to intense German colonization. The peasantry was resettled there by magnates and guaranteed a long-lasting exemption from feudal burdens and, subsequently, a lower rent and compulsory serf labor. However, the development of manorial farms at the turn of the 16th century brought about an increase of exploitation, which has been until then delayed by a low level of population density in the discussed terrains. The increase of compulsory villein service led to a series of Cossack uprisings in the second half of the 17th century involving also the peasantry.410 These events can be interpreted in terms of an economic revolution of direct producers.

The characteristic feature of the economic development of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was an uneven population density, which blocked the rise of exploitation in the center and which shifted social struggle of the peasantry from central terrains onto peripheries.

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2.3 The Hungarian Variant

A single class of owners emerged in Hungary in the 12th and the 13th centuries as a result of the collapse of the system of the Ius Ducale. According to model III of an economic society, a low level of population density – in the 10th century, the country was inhabited by around 1 million people, forced owners to grant a number of concessions to direct producers. Weakness of the state caused by feudal fragmentation, which deprived the owners of the support of political authorities, constituted an additional circumstance bringing about an improvement of the economic situation of the peasantry.

The period of German colonization and settlement with German Law can be interpreted as a manifestation of concessions and production incentives on the part of feudal lords to the peasantry. The adoption and implementation of Western-European institutional solutions increased independence and privileges of the peasantry, and simultaneously stimulated their productivity. In the 12th and the 14th centuries, German colonization and settlement with German Law covered the terrains of the Pannonian Basin, Slovakia and Transylvania.

At this time the urban sphere emerged, which can be interpreted as a division of the economy into two sectors, according to the theses of model IV of feudal society. The development of towns in Hungary was confronted with the same obstacles, as in the rest of Central Europe: a low level of population density, which made it difficult to acquire sufficient manpower, competition from Western-European craft, and privileges of the nobility in the socio-economic life. The largest barrier was the shortage of workforce, which decreased the stream of migration of the peasantry to towns, by contributing to the improvement of the economic situation of this social class.

Let us stress once more that in a typical society of the region under study, towns emerged in the period of class peace between owners and direct producers of the rural economic system. The state of class peace, which resulted from the competition between owners for as much manpower as possible, caused migration to towns to be a less effective way of ensuring higher income. A limited inflow of workforce to towns made it difficult to acquire sufficient manpower. These problems were additionally deepened by a low level of population density in Hungary, in comparison to western societies, which influenced the development of both sectors of the economy.

The level of population density and its social consequences must have influenced the size of towns and the significance of burghers in the Hungarian society. In the peak period of the growth of the urban economy – that is, in the 15th century – there were around 30–35 towns in Hungary. By European ←300 | 301→standards, most of them were small. The largest, Buda, had a population of 8,000, compared with 4,000–5,000 in the next largest towns: Bratislava, Sopron, Košice, and Cluj. In total, in the above-mentioned period, town population accounted for 3 % of the Hungarian population.411

A characteristic trait of the development of towns in Hungary was the so-called oppidium – a center without a legal and political status of a town. Its inhabitants were subordinated to feudal jurisdiction: they had to pay tributes to the owner of the oppidium and perform a villein service. People living in those centers engaged partly in farming and partly in non-agricultural activities. An oppidium had institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or churches; thus, it functioned as a town. In that period, there were about 800 oppidia, each with about 500–1000 residents.412

Moreover, the international economic situation adversely affected the development of Hungarian towns:

The large-trends of international economic development were not favourable to urban development in Hungary. The impetus of industrialization was already lost by the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. The agrarian boom of the sixteenth century then definitively prevented Hungarian domestic trade and crafts from breaking the mold of conservative guild, since the international movement of prices permitted the import of much more textile and metal goods than before in returns for the same quantity of cattle or wine. During the agrarian boom the returns for agricultural producers were not invested in industry; actually, they were not invested in agriculture either.413

Wars and the destruction they caused were additional factors, which hindered the development of towns. For example, after the loss of independence in 1526 and the division of the country into three parts, the largest towns of Hungary: Buda and Pest were reduced to the role of Turkish military garrisons.

In turn, the weakness of burghers contributed to strengthening the position of the nobility in a Hungarian society. The latter gained exclusive influence on political authorities. The period of reinforcement of state authority in the course of the development of a Hungarian society was followed by a trend typical for Central-European societies, namely an upward trend in the sphere of autonomy ←301 | 302→of a particular layer of the civil class (the nobility, or the owners of the means of production of the rural economic system) and a decrease of the sphere of state control. In Hungary, the above process was initiated as early as in the beginning of the 13th century. In 1222, the king of Hungary Andrew II announced the so-called Golden Bull. The document made magnates equal in rights with ordinary knighthood, which amounted for 5 % of the Hungarian society. By virtue of that legal act, a lower layer of knighthood, the so-called serwienci, was exempted from taxes and was granted jurisdiction over the peasants. Moreover, the Golden Bull limited military service duty of serwienci to defensive wars. Since then, the Hungarian nobility could not be imprisoned without a court sentence. Furthermore, separate royal approval was required to confirm capital punishment of the representatives of this estate. The king was obliged to call estate assemblies once a year. The Golden Bull granted the nobility the right to resist the monarch if these provisions were contravened. Those provisions were repeated in the Golden Bull issued in 1351 by Louis I.

The social weakness of burghers, which stemmed from the economic underdevelopment of towns, was reflected in scarce participation of the representatives of that social group in estate assemblies of representatives. Since 1445, the deputies of towns, particularly of eight urban centers: Buda, Pest, Bratislava, Sopron, Turnawa, Bardejov, Prešov, and Košice, began to regularly participate in the Sejm debates. However, as early as in 1458, the role of town representatives was limited to hearing the resolutions and reporting on the debates to its electorate. In the 16th century, urban delegates were granted one collective vote.414

Another factor weakening the role of state authority were frequent changes of dynasties – during two hundred years, since 1301 when the Arpad dynasty ended, the Hungarians were ruled by kings from the Angevin, Luxemburgian, Hunyiady, and Jagiellon dynasties. Each time, a new monarch had to confirm privileges, which had been granted by his predecessors, before he could establish his position.

Subordination of the political authorities to landowners allowed the latter to use the instruments of state control to carry out their anti-municipal policy. For instance, in 1550, the Hungarian nobility obtained the right to buy up agricultural produce from their serfs. In 1617, the nobility became exempted from customs duties and taxes. A few years later, by using the instruments of state control, they subjected prices and wages to their own regulations. Another form ←302 | 303→of controlling the economic life was by granting the nobility of monopolies to manage inns, slaughterhouses, or mills, and exclusive rights to use of waters and forests, etc.

The subordination of the state to the nobility reduced the economic significance of the urban sector of production, which, in turn, constrained the development of towns. The Hungarian nobility could also use state regulations in order to increase profit to maximum in the rural sector of the economy.

The increase of the alienation of labor in the rural economic system can be identified with the rise and development of a manorial-serf economy. In a society with a shortage of manpower, the alienation of labor grows in a rural sector of the economy, provided that the class of owners is subordinated to political power and providing the competition of the second sector of the economy is limited. As we have seen, these phenomena occurred in the development of a Hungarian society. The nobility reduced the importance of towns and employed the instruments of state control to impose serfdom on the rural population and to increase the villein service.

In the 15th century, the economic structure of Hungary was characterized by heavy concentration of property. Around 1440, sixty largest magnates owned around 40 % of all villages. However, own manors of feudal lords were small and the majority of their land was cultivated by leaseholders that paid the rent and provided payment in kind. On account of the small size of lords’ farms, villein service was of little importance in the overall structure of peasant obligations in the 15th century, as it amounted only to 1–2 days annually. Relatively more important was rent in kind. Peasants were obliged to supply certain quantities of bread, cheese, butter, eggs, poultry, and all kinds of meat from 2 to 5 times a year. Apart from food, the rural population had to deliver tributes in grain and wine. In 1351, obligations imposed on rural farms increased because peasants had to provide additional tributes in grain: the so-called ninthe – the ninth part of the harvested crops (cf. tithe).

During that period, the most significant element in the structure of peasant obligations was rent paid in cash. Villages founded with German Law predominantly paid the rent. The average amount of rent was then equal to 1–1.5 florin per one male adult. In the second half of the 15th century, burdens imposed on the rural population increased as a result of the introduction of another tax, the so-called census. It was paid in 2–5 instalments and the rate depended on the number of owned livestock. The tax was almost as high as the remaining pecuniary duties. In the second half of the 15th century, landowners imposed on the peasantry a number of additional, extraordinary payments associated with the use of forests, meadows, waters, etc. Since the end of the 14th century, the ←303 | 304→growing obligations imposed on the peasantry caused their economic situation to deteriorate gradually. That process was accompanied by limiting the freedom of movement. At the end of the 15th century, by virtue of the state legislation issued in 1486 and reaffirmed in 1496, peasants could not leave the village without the lord’s consent. The imposition of serfdom and increase of economic burdens in the second half of the 15th century, might be interpreted as an increase of the alienation of labor, which gave rise to a series of revolts of the producers of the rural sphere.415

One of the first revolts was a peasant uprising in the south of Transylvania, in the years 1437–1438. Within a short period, it gained support from pauperized burghers and the minor nobility. Very soon, the peasant revolt transformed into a military confrontation. At the beginning the insurgents achieved a victory in the battle at Des, which forced the ruling camp to sign a treaty in Kolozsmonostor. However, after burghers and the minor nobility turned over to the king’s camp, the peasant insurgents were left without support. Despite the unfavorable power balance, the insurgents were once more victorious in the battle at Apati. The uprising ended with a defeat at Cluj-Napoca. As a consequence of the unsuccessful peasant revolt, the personal freedom of the peasantry was reduced, and part of privileges and rights of towns, which supported the Transylvanian uprising, was revoked.

The Dózsa’s uprising was another peasant revolt which can be interpreted as an economic revolution of direct producers.416 As distinct from the Transylvanian peasant revolt, it had a mass character. It started in 1514 when peasant troops, which had mobilized for the expedition against the Turks, refused to disperse and begun an open revolt. The rebels demanded abolition of serfdom and class divisions, distribution of land and liquidation of nobility jurisdiction. Urban dwellers joined the rebellion, which quickly transformed into a military confrontation. The revolt ended with a defeat at Timișoara in 1514. After suppressing the rebellion, the authorities resorted to mass terror, murdered around 50,000 ←304 | 305→participants and burned the peasant leader Dózsa on a wooden throne. The crush of the Dózsa uprising was followed by a period, which can be interpreted in terms of economic declassation and political enslavement of peasants-serfs. A codified body of legislation termed Tripartitum, issued after the crush of the revolution, was to regulate the scope of the nobility’s power over the peasantry. According to this legal act, the peasants were not allowed to freely leave their village and were forbidden to carry arms. They also had to pay for the made damages. The peasants were denied opportunities of social advancement because they could not hold high-ranking church offices. Tripartitum introduced the obligation to pay additional tax in the amount of one florin and to perform one day of villein service.417 In the course of development of manorial-serf economy, the compulsory serf labor became the principal duty of the peasantry. During the 16th century, it increased from 1 day to 3–4 days a week. In the same century the acreage of manorial land grew from 10 % to 40 %. Another form of economic exploitation were monopolies established by the Hungarian nobility. In the 16th century, the Hungarian nobility introduced an exclusive right to own inns, slaughterhouses, to purchase mandatory quota of wine and grain from the peasantry, the right to fish and the right to collect acorns in the woods to feed swine. In that period they also introduced the propination law and the obligation to grind grain in lord’s mills.418

In Hungary, a manorial-serf economy originated in the period of the collapse of the medieval trade exchange, in which luxury goods were staple commodities, and in the period of development of the modern trade exchange. The principal objects of the modern exchange were goods of mass consumption.419 The Hungarian economy integrated with the new structure of international trade. The demand for agricultural products was one of the factors, which accelerated the transformation of the agricultural system of that state.420 However, unlike in Poland, grain did not play an important role in Hungarian exports.421 This ←305 | 306→state of affairs was a consequence of absence of convenient communication routes (river passages and seaways), which precluded sending large amounts of grain abroad.422 Wine and cattle were Hungarian export commodities. Since the second half of the 14th century, the country was a big exporter of cattle. It was sold to Bohemia, Austria, southern Germany, and northern Italy. In the 16th and the 17th centuries, there were on average between 100,000 to 200,000 heads of cattle exported annually, which at that time accounted for 2.5–5 % of the overall production of cattle. The second export commodity was wine. In 1550–1650, ca. 100,000 hl of wine (about 10–15 % of domestic production) was sent abroad. Out of the total value of Hungarian export in the 16th and the 17th centuries, oxen accounted for ca. 26 %, wine for 8.1 %, grain for 15.2 %, wool for 11 %, and minerals for 39 % of the sale value.423 Hungary imported highly processed industrial goods, textiles, and luxury goods.

The event that disrupted the development of Hungary was the Turkish invasion of 1526, which brought about a Turkish occupation of the southern part of the country, which lasted for over 100 years. Moreover, the western part of Hungary has been under the rule of the Habsburgs since 1541. One third of the former kingdom of Hungary, namely Transylvania, retained independence in the 16th century. Following the defeat of Turkey at Vienna in 1687–1699, all former lands of St. Stephan’s crown found themselves under the rule of the Habsburgs. The Turkish occupation was a period of war destruction, a substantial drop of the level of population density, and a collapse of the urban sector of the economy. In that sense, the Turkish occupation was another factor in the Hungarian variant of the cascade of European differentiation, which contributed to the developmental distinctiveness of that society.

In summary, the Hungarian variant of the cascade of European differentiation can be demonstrated graphically in the following way (see page 307).

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2.4 The Bohemian Variant

The system of the Ius Ducale prevailed in the Bohemian society between the 10th and the 12th centuries, similarly to the situation in other countries of the region. The system has gradually disappeared in the 12th and the 13th centuries, and the double social class that controlled the means of production and coercion was replaced by knighthood, which was a counterpart of the single class of owners from model III of an economic society. Bohemia was characterized by a low level of population density, with less than 1 million people living in the country. This demographic situation, according to the tendencies of model III of an economic society, enforced concession. Their counterparts were introduction of German Law between the 12th and the 14th centuries, which brought about substantially higher privileges to the peasantry than the previous socio-economic system.

A split of the economy into two sectors and a development of the urban sphere of production took place in the above-described phase of social evolution. Towns, which emerged in the phase of granting concessions by the class of owners, were confronted with the same obstacles for further development, as towns in other urban centers of the region. Problems with acquisition of manpower were the major barrier of development. These problems were a consequence of two factors: the state of class peace in the rural economic sector, on the one hand, and the shortage of workforce, on the other. Noteworthy, the development of the Bohemian urban ←307 | 308→sphere was confronted with relatively smaller obstacles, in comparison to the situation in Poland and in Hungary, due to the higher level of population density and intense German colonization.

The percentage of town dwellers was higher than in the other Central-European countries, as it accounted for around 20 % of the population. The largest town in Central Europe was Prague, with 30,000–40,000 inhabitants. In other Bohemian towns, the population ranged from 5,000 to 10,000 each.424 The strength of Bohemian burghers was reflected in the newly forming estate system. Delegates of royal towns (around 30) participated in Sejms and assemblies of the local nobility as early as in the 15th century. The strong position of towns influenced the situation in the rural sector of the economy by reducing the scope of feudal control over the peasantry:

[T];he socio-political significance of Czech towns contributed to the state of affairs whereby it was more difficult to free vassals because the towns strengthened by their gains during the Hussite revolution, felt the need for workers and encouraged them both to settle in the towns and to learn a craft, and even to complete university studies. The diet passed decrees insisting that the towns should returns vassals to their masters, when they had left without permission; but in fact it was impossible to put these decrees into effect and to prevent the natural flow of the population from the villages to the towns.425

At the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries, the nobility attempted to execute its growing political superiority by limiting political privileges of burghers by devising a new codification of law, the so-called Vladislav’s Land Statutes. Burghers responded with establishing an urban association of 32 towns. Organized protests of burghers forced the nobility to grant Bohemian burghers with full representation in estate assemblies in the so-called Saint Wenceslaus Agreement of 1517.

Since the direct limitation of burghers’ rights by the nobility was impossible, though tendencies of that kind could be observed as early as the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries. Therefore, the nobility sought other ways to undermine the social position of burghers. For instance, landowners founded private towns and villages. The inhabitants of those centers did not enjoy full autonomy despite fulfilling all economic functions of a town. Between 1434 and 1620, almost 40 towns and 150 villages of the nobility came into existence.426 This led to an autarky of ←308 | 309→the rural economy. The nobility closed the borders of its manors to craft products manufactured in royal towns. In exchange, it forced its serfs to purchase products manufactured in private towns. Trade exchange concentrated in private towns and the town owners obtained the greater part of profits from it, in the form of customs duties, tolls, etc. The rural market was closed to town products with administrative methods, which diminished the prospects for development of the urban sphere of production. As a result, burghers lost their strong social position.

The relative balance between the influences of the principal social forces – namely, burghers, the nobility, and the political authority – contributed to the situation of the peasantry. In 1487 the Bohemian Parliament issued a bill, which reduced migration of the peasantry, however it was not put into practice. During the 15th century and the greater part of the 16th century, the rural population maintained personal freedom, and the burden of the villein service did not exceed 12 days a year.

The factor responsible for undermining the balance between the nobility and burghers, and for accelerating the process of differentiation of the Bohemian developmental path, was the imposition of the Habsburg domination over the Bohemian society. In the 15th century, after the death of George of Poděbrady, Louis II of Hungary became the king of Bohemia and Hungary. After his death in the battle at Mohács in 1526, the rule over Bohemia was transferred to Ferdinand I, and the lands belonging to St. Václav’s crown were incorporated into the Habsburg Empire. The Habsburg rule strengthened the prerogatives of the central authority, and brought about an increase of fiscal burdens and a limitation of estate privileges, both for the nobility and burghers. In 1546–1547, an anti-Habsburg uprising of the Bohemian estates broke out during the war between Ferdinand I and the Schmalkaldic League. The pretext for the uprising was the mass levy of the nobility summoned by the emperor without the consent of the Sejm, which was supposed to be used in the ongoing war in Germany. Both burghers and the nobility participated in the rebellion. The insurgents refused to participate in the war in Germany and established their own government with armed forces. However, after the victory over the Schmalkaldic League, Ferdinand I suppressed the revolt of the Bohemian estates. In 1547, the sovereign struck a compromise with the nobility while repressing burghers. As a result, he broke the solidarity of the Bohemian opposition. After the unsuccessful uprising, the Habsburg authority confiscated military equipment, which belonged to towns and forbade burghers to carry arms. The repressions of the central authority undermined the economic privileges of burghers: towns were deprived of the greater part of the landed estates and burghers were burdened with substantial taxes. Moreover, the Habsburgs restricted the autonomy of ←309 | 310→Bohemian towns by revoking a number of urban and guild privileges. Town deputies were deprived of the right to speak during estate assemblies. From that moment, the matters of public order in towns were to be controlled by royal police officers and village officers who additionally supervised guild organizations. The emperor Ferdinand I abolished the judicial autonomy of burghers with an establishment of the national court of appeal in Prague in 1548.427

A consequence of undermining the social balance between the two estates was about a deterioration of the situation of the peasantry in the second half of the 16th century. During that period, the transformation of the manorial farms was initiated. Also, in the second half of the 16th century, a gradual concentration of land began: the number of manorial farms with acreage between 5 and 10 łan was constantly growing.428 In 16th-century Bohemia, the production of grain for export was not of great significance.429 Production for the domestic market was more important. The principal production of the nobility manors included fishing, beer brewing, and sheep breeding, among others. Landowners also established a number of craft works: mills, brickyards, sawmills, etc. Privileges received from political authorities allowed the nobility to secure, for example, the monopoly for grinding grain or selling beer to its subjects. Simultaneously, the situation of the peasantry systematically deteriorated. The owners burdened the rural population with additional fees for the use of meadows and forests, fishing and the export of goods for sale to towns. In the first half of the 16th century, villein service was still unsubstantial: it amounted for the maximum of 12 days a year, and its average scope was 6 days.430 However, in the second half of the 16th century it grew to several dozens of days annually. Apart from compulsory villein service, the nobility burdened the rural population with an obligation to perform all kinds of occasional work for the manors. In 1575, the freedom to seek hired labor by peasants who owned little land and landless peasants was limited to four weeks annually.431 ←310 | 311→The weakened position of burghers and the compromise reached by the Habsburgs and the Bohemian nobility led to the above course of social events. The gradual deterioration of the economic situation of the peasantry, which can be interpreted as an increase of the alienation of labor in terms of a model of an economic society, brought about first local signs of peasant resistance at the end of the 16th century. In 1575, there were outbursts in the vicinity of Příbram and Rožmitál. A year later, peasants from Mladá Boleslav revolted. At the turn of the 16th century a number of local but long-lasting conflicts broke out in the manors: Skaly at Broumov (1592–1618), Hukvaldy (1588–1617), and Jablonné (1609–1610).

The next factor in the Bohemian variant of the cascade of European differentiation, exerting the greatest influence on the developmental path of the country, were the consequences of the failed anti-Habsburg uprising and the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). In 1618, another anti-Habsburg uprising broke out, in which united forces of burghers and the nobility took part once again. After the defeat at White Mountain (Bílé hoře, 1620), in which around 21,000 Bohemian nobles were killed, the Habsburgs used mass repression against the rebelling states, including the confiscation of about three fourths of nobility estates. The manors were distributed among the population that was loyal to the political authority, mainly Germans, Italians, Frenchmen, and Walloons in service to the Habsburgs.432 The change in the ethnic make-up of the nobility, which was not bonded with the peasantry (direct producers) by shared national awareness, brought about a growing exploitation of the rural sector of production. William E. Wright describes the economic consequences of the battle of White Mountain as follows:

The old Bohemian aristocracy, which had accepted the restraints of custom and law and had exhibited a certain degree of paternalism in their relations with the peasants were decimated by exile and confiscation of property after the imperial victories. A new aristocracy replaced the old, took possession of much of the landed property of Bohemia and therewith took control also of a large segment of the Bohemian peasant population. These new men were mostly foreigners and conquerors being rewarded for their services in defeating the “heretics” of Bohemia. They felt in no wise bound by the ancient and paternalist restraints of the ameliorating customs and laws which tempered the old lords’ actions towards the peasants.433

Apart from the change in the ethnic composition of the class of owners, both anti-Habsburg uprisings and military operations resulted with vast war damage. ←311 | 312→In Bohemia alone, 80 towns and 813 villages were devastated, and in Moravia 22 towns and 333 villages were destroyed.434 Furthermore, the people of Bohemia suffered catastrophic losses: the population of Bohemia dropped from 1.7 million (1618) to 0.9 million (1648), which represented a drop by 40 % .435 War damage undermined the development of the urban sphere of economy. As a result, the alternative sector of the economy disappeared. Its presence used to somehow temper the growth of exploitation of the rural sector of production. In contrast, confiscation of estates belonging to the Bohemian nobility removed the obstacles to a firm alliance between the political authority and grand ownership. The aristocracy withdrew from any attempts to control the action of the royal authority in the political sphere, in return for guarantees and support of the political authority in pursuing an almost unlimited exploitation of the peasantry. The Thirty Years’ War, affecting the change in social relations among the principal classes in Bohemian society, was a turning point in the history of Bohemia. War damage led to a drastic deficiency of manpower, which, in turn, resulted with the following situation:

[L];ack of workforce was counterbalanced by imposing an increased burden of villein service on serfs. Before the defeat at the White Mountain, the serfs were obliged to serve for only a few days a year, whereas after the Thirty Years’ War the villein service rose incomparably. Landowners introduced almost a daylong villein work for the greater part of the year. Thus, the peasants cultivated their own land at night, on Sundays and during holidays. Beside the mandatory villein service, they had to cope with increasingly growing obligations of rent and tributes.436

Another consequence of the decrease in rural population was the increase in uncultivated land, which, in turn, facilitated the concentration of land by the nobility and founding of manorial-based farms. According to model III of an economic society, the shortage of manpower forced owners to grant economy concessions. However, this course of events is possible only in a purely economic society deprived of administrators of centralized means of coercion, among other things. Its approximation may be a society with a class of owners divided into two social sub-categories: owners of the old economic sector (nobility) and owners of the new economic sector (burghers). Social balance between burghers and the nobility results with a state of affairs in which political authorities are not under the influence of any of the above-mentioned social groups. Under the conditions of a social balance defined as above, none of the social classes subjects the authorities ←312 | 313→to its interests; therefore, it is possible to reasonably abstract from the influence it exerts on the economic relations inside each of the spheres of production. In a society with a scarcity of manpower, the mechanisms described in model III of an economic society substantially contribute to mitigation of exploitation. However, the developmental mechanisms changed in a society in which the dominance of the nobility over burghers replaces social balance. Then, the nobility subordinates political authorities to its interests. Owners may exercise the instruments of state coercion with regard to direct producers. This means that, under the conditions of deficiency of manpower, economic concessions have no effect, because owners also administer the means of coercion (not indirectly, but via the authorities subordinated to them) and may push toward tightening the exploitation. Then, social enslavement of serfs prevents escapes and migration – the situation of shortage of workforce is the principal weapon of direct producers.

Such was the picture of the Bohemian society in the middle of the 17th century. War damage considerably devastated the urban economy. In contrast, landowners, whose attitude to nationality was different from the remaining part of the Bohemian society, could easily ask state authorities for support. According to Klima, the factor facilitating an introduction of serfdom was the situation that:

this fundamental economic relationship [serfdom] was reinforced and strengthened by the fact that, in Bohemia, as in other countries, a peasant-serf was also subject to his lord in political and legal matters. This in turn allowed the lord to intensify exploitation depending on the circumstances.437

After 1620, compulsory serf labor increased to 3 days per week. That considerable growth of exploitation provoked an outbreak of an anti-Habsburg uprising of peasants directed, both, against the authority and ownership. The uprising broke in 1626–1628 in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. The authorities suppressed the uprising. After the defeat of the anti-Habsburg uprising, the alliance between political authorities and ownership subjected the Bohemian rural class to economic declassation of political enslavement. This is how the “Land Arrangements” introduced in 1627 in Bohemia, in 1628 in Moravia, and in 1652 in Silesia, which forbade serfs to leave their village without the consent of the lord, can be interpreted. Moreover, serfs could not enter into marriages without the approval of a village owner. Serfdom was also to cover peasant children. They were forbidden to train in craft and change the profession inherited from their parents without the consent of the noble lords. A principle was enforced under which children born of female serfs automatically became serfs of ←313 | 314→the same owner. Limitation of the sphere of autonomy of direct producers was accompanied by growth in economic obligations to 4 days a week and, moreover, peasants were obliged to pay taxes to the state and church. The burdens imposed on peasants in the 17th century accounted in total for 60 % of gross income.438 The rise of exploitation was also accompanied by political pressure, which was manifested with very harsh penalties for insubordination, among other things:

The lord had the right to punish serfs with death for desertion, heresy and even poaching. Lesser offenses or noncompliance with obligations in relation to a landowner were punished with flogging, tortures, burning out shameful marks, pillory or other ways of abuse. The extent of punishment depended solely upon the feudal lord or his bursar. 439

As a result, a manorial-serf economy came to existence in the Bohemian society in the second half of the 17th century, which decided on the developmental differentiation of this society. Let us now present the factors, which determined the distinctiveness of the Bohemian variant of the cascade of European differentiation in a graphic form:

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A developmental peculiarity of the Bohemian manorial-serf system was the presence of a strong, absolutist state. In the first period of existence of a manorial-serf economy in Bohemia, namely in the second half of the 17th and the first half of the 18th centuries, the state ensured implementation of the class interests of the owners. However, a state of class compromise prevailed, instead of a relationship founded on subordination of the authorities to ownership. The owners resigned from controlling political action of the political authorities in exchange for an assurance of unlimited exploitation of direct producers. However, this compromise did not last forever. It lasted as long as it was beneficial for both parties. As soon as the stronger party reached a conclusion that the shape of the compromise posed a threat to the implementation of its class interest, it attempts to revise the conditions of the compromise. In the Habsburg state, the conflict of interests between the authorities and the ownership was founded on the fact that the peasantry played a double social role of direct producers and taxpayers. Thus, the limitation of exploitation carried out by ownership was in the interest of the authorities. The period of absolutism in the second half of the 18th century and the intervention of the state into the relations between a lord and a peasant influenced by the peasant uprisings may be interpreted in the above way. The periodic peasant revolutions directed against the economic rule also threatened the interest of the authorities and forced the latter to intervene into the relations between a peasant and a lord. The first in a long series of peasant uprisings were local rebellions near Litomyšl in 1656–65, Limeryce in 1668, and in the region of Turnawa in 1673. All of these rebellions concluded with a defeat of the peasantry and repressions against the participants.

The growing intensification of poverty, caused, among others, by a severe winter of 1679–1680, brought about a widespread series of peasant incidents, which may be interpreted in terms of a revolution of the II type. In 1680, the incidents covered western and northern Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. The authorities used regular military forces to suppress the uprising, and it took a number of bloody battles between the military forces and the peasant troops. After the suppression of the uprising, political authorities introduced repressions followed by concessions in the form of a regulation of the economic relations between the nobility and the peasantry. The Emperor’s Patent issued in 1680 limited the scope of serfdom to 3 days a week.

Since then, the social development has unfolded according to the following model: increase of the alienation of labor – revolution of direct producers – intervention of the political authorities pacifying the uprisings – repressions against the participants and short-lasting mitigation of exploitation – increase of the alienation of labor leading to another revolution. The intervention of royal ←315 | 316→authorities in 1680 brought about little effect, which is why another peasant rebellion broke out in Bohemia in 1738. In consequence, the authorities introduced repressions and limited the scope of serfdom. The state intervention on the part of direct producers was short-lasting because the economic living conditions of the peasantry deteriorated once more after a period of time. This situation once more brought about peasant rebellions, which in 1767 covered 137 municipalities in Cieszyn Silesia. The authorities responded once more with repressions and an attempt to intervene into the economic relations in the rural region. The scope of exploitation was mitigated; however, it re-grew after a while. In 1775, another peasant uprising broke out, the largest so far. Its participants formed a “Rural Government,” which included peasants of German and Czech origin. The uprisings had a very violent character – peasants burned lord’s manors, destroyed the books, which consolidated the obligations of the rural population, and attempted to conquer Prague. Regular military forces, which amounted to around 40.000, were used to suppress the uprising. This time, the intervention of political authorities, following the suppression of the revolution, brought about effects, which were more sustainable and more beneficial to the peasantry. In the Emperor’s Patent issued for Bohemia in 1775, the scope of serfdom was depended on the size of land owned by peasants. The document also supported substitution of serfdom with rent.

A hypothesis that a classic manorial-serf economy has not developed in Bohemia440 or that Bohemian economy represented an intermediate type of economy is founded on the presence of a state, which limited the growth of exploitation.441 Even if the above statement was true – I do not wish to get into a detailed analysis of issues secondary for this book – than it still does not contradict the theses put forward here, according to which the alienation of labor increased in Central Europe under the influence of the factors of European differentiation. It is secondary matter whether this increase occurred within the institutional frames of a noble’s demesne based on villein service, or within the frame of another social form. The argument supporting a deterioration of the situation of the peasantry may be a series of peasant revolts periodically repeated in the second half of the 17th century and in the 18th century.

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3 Summary

Let us now briefly recapitulate the considerations presented in the fourth part of this book The above analysis has a mixed, theoretical-empirical character. The chapter “Models of the source of a cascade” analyzes a model of society with a shortage of manpower. The factor of shortage of workforce brought about an improvement to the situation of direct producers and mitigated the course of the social conflict. However, this model can explain only a particular fragment of the history of Central-European societies, namely colonization with German Law in the 13th–14th centuries, when the situation of the peasantry improved substantially. However, the further historical development of Central-European societies stands in contradiction with the tendencies assumed by model III of an economic society. This state of affairs is a result of a combined influence exerted by a cascade of secondary factors, which dominated the impact of developmental mechanisms assumed by the model. The present chapter subjected the impact of these secondary factors to an empirical analysis.

Between the 12th and the 14th centuries, a shortage of workforce contributed to an improvement of the situation of the peasantry and influenced the conditions of development of the urban sphere of economy in Central Europe. A decrease of the alienation of labor limited the scope of migration of peasants to towns. Consequently, the urban sphere became underdeveloped and the social balance between burghers and the nobility was undermined. This, in turn, allowed the latter to subordinate the authorities to its interests. The political dominance of the nobility allowed for a further confinement of the development of towns, an exacerbation of serfdom, and the introduction of a serfdom-based farm. The economic exploitation continued to intensify within the institutional frames of a manorial-serf economy. Providing the nobility was deprived of the support of the state, it behaved according to regularities assumed by the model. However, as soon as it gained exclusive influence on the state authorities, it effectively reduced the privileges of burghers and stopped granting concessions to the peasantry. The above processes were accompanied by an increased demand for grain in Western Europe.

The above factors exerted influenced on each of the central-European societies under study. However, particular factors determined a developmental path for each of them. In the case of Poland, it was the factor of uneven population density, which shifted the class struggle from the center toward peripheries; in the case of Bohemia, it was the domination of the Habsburgs and the outcome of the Thirty Years’ War; in the case of Hungary, it was a Turkish occupation, etc. The combined impact of the core factors and the accidental factors brought about ←317 | 318→a progressing differentiation of the developmental paths of each of the societies investigated, located within the Central-European course of development.

The development of the manorial-serf system brought about a collapse of towns and a delay in the development of capitalistic ownership relations. An increased alienation of labor in the rural sector of the economy led to the weakness of towns. The size of the urban sphere shrunk to the purchasing capabilities of the peasantry. However, a delay in a formation of capitalistic rules of ownership was, among others, a consequence of a compromise between the authorities and grand ownership (Bohemia and Hungary under the Habsburg monarchy) or a subordination of the authorities to ownership (Poland before the Partitions). Owners revoked to the support of the state in their conflict with direct producers, which, in turn, postponed a revision of rules of ownership. It was not until the revolutionary wave in the period of the Spring of Nations, that the core of ruling of both social classes was shaken and that considerable changes were introduced into the structure of ownership. In the greater part of Central-European countries villein service and the personal serfdom of the peasantry was abolished in 1848. Serfdom was finally liquidated on the Polish lands belonging to Russia in 1864. As a result, capitalistic rules of ownership begun to form in the rural sector of the economy, which, in turn, brought about migration of the peasantry to towns.

Nonetheless, Central-European capitalisms manifested a number of structural differences, in comparison to the Western-European capitalism. To put it in general terms, this distinctiveness was associated with the fact that in the course of the development of Central-European societies, an effort to reach a state of social balance, termed “civil society,” was not present. In the conceptual apparatus of n-Mhm, this social state may be characterized by three parameters. The first parameter is a class peace prevailing between owners and direct producers. In a capitalistic economy, it is a result of ongoing technical advancement, which secures prosperity for all social classes. The second parameter is a class peace between rulers and the civil class. This state is brought about by victorious civil revolutions – English, French, the period of the Spring of Nations, etc., which permanently reduced the scope of state control to a strip of administration. And finally, the third parameter of the social state under study is a social balance between authorities and ownership. This social balance is reinforced not only by an alliance of authorities and direct producers but also by an alliance between owners and a civil class. The authorities intervene into economic life on behalf of direct producers, while the owners support the civil masses in limiting the authorities. A social stalemate between the principal social forces is required for the institutions of civil society to be created. The state of social balance between ←318 | 319→the major social forces brings about effectiveness of a parliamentary democracy, of the institutions of free elections, of the right to form labor unions, etc. Under the above-described social conditions, the principal factors of social development shift from a material to an institutional level.

However, the social development of Central Europe was deprived of the natural aspiration of the class societies for the state of balance. The relationship between authorities and citizens cannot be characterized in the categories of the state of social peace. The above was manifested by an absence of advanced institutions of civil society in Russia and Austro-Hungary – predominantly, parliamentary democracy, and free elections.

An underdevelopment of industry was another characteristic feature of the social development of this part of Europe. In the 19th century, and in the first part of the 20th century, the majority of manpower was employed in the rural areas. Following from this, a delayed industrialization of Central Europe covered a substantially smaller area of economic life. Because of technical backwardness, the societies could not take advantage of the prosperity brought about by technical advancement. For this reason, relations between owners and direct producers cannot be characterized in terms of the state of class peace. Additionally, the authorities and the ownership did not form a balance of influences, characteristic for advanced capitalism. The scope of interference of state authorities into the social life of Central-European countries was larger, in comparison to any Western-European country. State-control of the economic life was so extensive, that in fact there was no free-market economy in Central Europe in the second half of the 19th century.

The First World War and the national social revolutions of 1917–1919 brought about a collapse of the empires of the houses of Hohenzollerns, Romanovs, and Habsburgs, which, in turn, created a foundation for a development of civil society. A parliamentary democracy and the intuition of free elections were introduced into all national societies. The relations between principal social forces – ownership and authorities – determined the fate of institutions of civil society. In the countries where the tradition of despotism was strongest (Russia) and private property had a weak position against the state apparatus, political authorities, which stemmed from a revolution due to a civil loop, gained control over the economy and developed a totalitarian system, followed by a socialist system. In contrast, the countries with an industrial-agricultural economy (Czechoslovakia), where private property held the strongest position, maintained a stable civil society throughout the interwar period. In the case of countries with an agricultural or agricultural-industrial economy (Bulgaria, Estonia, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Hungary), situated ←319 | 320→between the two extreme examples presented above, an authoritarian political system emerged at some point in history.442 These political systems were introduced in the course of military coups or coups supported by a neutral army, as a response to a crisis in the functioning of a parliamentary democracy. Politicians connected with power elites took power in the course of authoritarian coups d’etat; therefore, it was not necessary to create mass movements of political support. The change in power brought about an autocratization of the political system. Depending on the country, the following occurred: a limitation or abolishment of the system of representative democracy, blending of differences between legislature, judiciary and executive, and considerable strengthening of the latter. In authoritarian systems, in contrast to totalitarian systems, independent institutions of civil society existed, however they were restrained to an economic and a social sphere. Additionally, authoritarian power did not intervene into the competencies of religious institutions and did not attempt to take full control over the means of production.443 Although the scope of economic state control in an authoritarian system was smaller than the scope of economic control in a totalitarian system, it was considerably larger than the scope of control in a typical system of democratic capitalism. The intermediate position of the authoritative system could explain the reasons why the triple-lordship system was implemented in Central Europe with such ease between 1944 and 1949.

Following from this, from the perspective of the longue durée, the sources of problems in the transition to democratic capitalism after 1989 were not merely direct consequences of socialism. Indeed, they have lain much deeper.444 The ←320 | 321→genesis of these problems stems from the state-controlled economy and bureaucratization of social life in the interwar period, and from the earlier domination of political life by a single social class, which brought about the serfdom of the peasantry and development of a manorial-serf economy.

←321 | 322→←322 | 323→

327 Stanisław Russocki, “Spory o istotę i genezę feudalizmu europejskiego,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 78 (1971), p. 405; Perry Anderson, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism (London: NLB, 1974).

328 Nowak, Property and Power, pp. 63–77.

329 Karol Modzelewski, Chłopi w monarchii wczesnopiastowskiej (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1987), pp. 129–132.

330 Marek Barański, “Majątki możnowładcze na Węgrzech w XII w.,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 70 (1979), p. 428.

331 Modzelewski, Chłopi w monarchii, p. 143.

332 Modzelewski, Chłopi w monarchii, pp. 156 and 149–150.

333 Modzelewski, Chłopi w monarchii, p. 61.

334 Modzelewski, Chłopi w monarchii, pp. 79–98.

335 Karol Buczek, Książęca ludność służebna w Polsce wczesnofeudalnej (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1958), pp. 91–96.

336 Buczek, Książęca ludność służebna, p. 7.

337 Karol Modzelewski, Organizacja gospodarcza państwa piastowskiego (X–XI w.) (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1975), p. 12.

338 Modzelewski, Organizacja gospodarcza, p. 180.

339 For a description of the process of development of grand feudal ownership, see: Wacław Korta, “Rozwój terytorialny wielkiej świeckiej własności feudalnej w Polsce do połowy XIII wieku,” Sobótka. Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 16, No. 4 (1961), pp. 528–566.

340 For other conceptualizations, see: Nerijus Babinskas, “Od feudalizmu do afrykańskiego sposobu produkcji. Problem typologii przednowoczesnych peryferyjnych społeczeństw europejskich,” Człowiek i Społeczeństwo, Vol. 42 (2016), pp. 119–133.

341 Henryk Łowmiański, “Przemiany feudalne wsi polskiej do 1138 r.,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 64 (1974), p. 438.

342 Łowmiański, “Przemiany feudalne,” p. 436.

343 Henryk Łowmiański, “Podstawy gospodarcze i społeczne powstania państwa polskiego i jego rozwoju do początku XII w.,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 67 (1960), p. 965.

344 Łowmiański, “Podstawy gospodarcze,” p. 966.

345 Modzelewski, Chłopi w monarchii, p. 52.

346 Modzelewski, Organizacja gospodarcza, p. 181.

347 Modzelewski, Chłopi w monarchii, p. 266.

348 Modzelewski, Organizacja gospodarcza, p. 267.

349 Phillip Longworth, The Making of Eastern Europe (Londyn; The Macmillian Press, 1992), p. 298.

350 Małowist, Wschód a Zachód, pp. 18–21.

351 Henryk Samsonowicz and Antoni Mączak, “Feudalism and Capitalism: a Balance of Changes in East-Central Europe,” in: Central Europe in Transition. From the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century, eds. Peter Burke, Antoni Mączak and Henryk Samsonowicz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985). p. 8.

352 Josiah Cox Russel, “Population in Europe 500–1500,” in: The Fontana Economic History of Europe. The Middle Ages, ed. Carlo M. Cipolla (London-Glasgow: Collins, 1972), p. 41.

353 Anna Rutkowska-Płachcińska, “Dżuma w Europie Zachodniej w XIV w. – straty demograficzne i skutki psychiczne,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 69 (1978), p. 69.

354 Karl Helleiner, “The Population of Europe from the Black Death to the Eve of the Vital Revolution,” in: The Cambridge Economic History of Europe, Vol. 4: The Economy of Expanding Europe in the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries, eds. E.E. Rich and Charles Wilson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), p. 38.

355 Eric Fügedi, “The Demographic Landscape of East-Central Europe,” in: Central Europe in Transition. From the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century, eds. Peter Burke, Antoni Mączak and Henryk Samsonowicz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 47–59; Małowist, Wschód a Zachód, pp. 19–20; Stanisław Russocki, “Monarchie stanowe środkowo-wschodniej Europy XV-XV1 w.,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 84, No. 1 (1977), p. 75.

356 Andrzej Gąsiorowski, “Ze studiów nad szerzeniem się tzw. prawa niemieckiego we wsiach ziemi krakowskiej i sandomierskiej (do roku 1333),” Roczniki Historyczne, Vol. 26 (1960) pp. 123–170; Adrienne Kormendy, “Kształtowanie się pojęcia ‘prawa niemieckiego’ (ius Teutonicum) w Europie środkowo-wschodniej w XIII-XIV wieku,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 75 (1984), pp. 481–491; Małowist, Wschód a Zachód, pp. 13–14; Jerzy Piskorski, Kolonizacja wiejska Pomorza Zachodniego w XIII i w początkach XIV wieku na tle procesów osadniczych w średniowiecznej Europie (Poznań: PTPN, 1990), pp. 174–178; Kazimierz Tymieniecki, “Prawo niemieckie w rozwoju społecznym wsi polskiej,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 33 (1923), pp. 38–79; Benedykt Zientara, “Źródła i geneza ‘prawa niemieckiego’ (ius Teutonicum) na tle ruchu osadniczego w Europie zachodniej i środkowej w XI- XII w.,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 69 (1978), pp. 47–74.

357 Piskorski, Kolonizacja wiejska, p. 241–242.

358 Henryk Łowmiański, Początki Polski, Vol. 3 (Warszawa: PWN, 1967), p. 312.

359 Zofia Podwińska, Technika uprawy roli w Polsce średniowiecznej (Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków: Ossolineum, 1962), pp. 174–176.

360 Łowmiański, Początki Polski, p. 307.

361 Piskorski, Kolonizacja wiejska, pp. 242–245.

362 Herman Aubin, “The Lands East of the Elbe and German Colonization Eastwards,” in: The Cambridge Economic History of Europe, Vol. 1: From the Decline of the Roman Empire, eds. John Harald Clapham, Eileen Power (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1942), pp. 396–397.

363 Małowist, Wschód a Zachód, pp. 15–16.

364 Stefan Kurowski, Ludność w historii i w polityce (Warszawa: Ośrodek Dokumentacji i Studiów Społecznych, 1980), p. 32.

365 Małowist, Wschód a Zachód, pp. 20–23.

366 Tymieniecki, “W sprawie zaostrzonego poddaństwa,” p. 304.

367 Cf. Maria Bogucka and Henryk Samsonowicz. Dzieje miast i mieszczaństwa w Polsce przedrozbiorowej (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1986); Piskorski, Kolonizacja wiejska, p. 246.

368 Andrzej Wędzki, Początki reformy miejskiej w środkowej Europie do poł. XIII wieku (Słowiańszczyzna Zachodnia) (Warszawa: PWN, 1974), p. 234.

369 Wędzki, Początki reformy miejskiej, p. 208; Benedykt Zientara, “Przemiany społeczno-gospodarcze i przestrzenne miast w dobie lokacji,” in: Miasta feudalne w Europie środkowo-wschodniej. Przemiany społeczne a układy przestrzenne, eds. Andrzej Gieysztor and Tadeusz Rosłanowski (Toruń: Polskie Towarzystwo Historyczne, 1974), pp. 8–9.

370 Henryk Samsonowicz, “Europa jagiellońska – czy jednością gospodarczą,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 84 (1977), pp. 94–96.

371 Zsigmond Pal Pach, The Role of East-Central Europe in International Trade (16th and 17th Centuries) (Budapeszt: Akademia Kiadò, 1970), pp. 218–220.

372 Marian Małowist, “Z zagadnień popytu na produkty krajów nadbałtyckich w Europie zachodniej w XVI wieku,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 50 (1959), p. 720; Antoni Mączak and Henryk Samsonowicz, “Z zagadnień genezy rynku europejskiego: strefa bałtycka,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 55 (1964), p. 201.

373 Antoni, Mączak, U źródeł nowoczesnej gospodarki europejskiej (Warszawa: PWN, 1967), p. 12.

374 Helmut George Koenigsberger and George L. Mosse, Europe in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Pearson, 1968), pp. 22–23.

375 Cf. Stanisław Hoszowski, “Rewolucja cen w środkowej Europie w XVI i XVII w.,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 68 (1961), p. 308; Marian Małowist, “Polska a przewrót cen w Europie w XVI i XVII w.,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 68 (1961), pp. 315–320; Miroslav Hroch and Josef Petran, “Europejska gospodarka i polityka XVI i XVII w.: kryzys czy regres,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 55 (1964), pp. 5–7.

376 Maria Bogucka, “Miasta Europy środkowej w XIV–XVII w. Problemy rozwoju,” Roczniki Dziejów Społecznych i Gospodarczych, Vol. 47 (1981), p. 7.

377 Cf. Henryk Samsonowicz, Życie miasta średniowiecznego (Warszawa: PWN, 1970), pp. 15–16; Robert J. Holton, Cities, Capitalism and Civilization (London: Allen Unwin, 1986), pp. 118–140.

378 Lynn White, Medieval Technology and Social Change (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), p. 53.

379 Bogucka, “Miasta Europy środkowej,” pp. 22–23.

380 Arcadius Kahan, “Notes on Serfdom in Western and Eastern Europe,” The Journal of Economic History, Vol 33 (1973), p. 98.

381 Longworth, The Making of Eastern Europe, p. 190.

382 Longworth, The Making of Eastern Europe, p. 183.

383 Bogucka, Samsonowicz, Dzieje miast, p. 293.

384 Andrzej Wyczański, “The System of Power in Poland, 1370–1648,” in: Central Europe in Transition. From the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century, eds. Peter Burke, Antoni Mączak and Henryk Samsonowicz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 140–153.

385 Antoni Mączak, “Jedyna i nieporównywalna? Kwestia odrębności Rzeczypospolitej w Europie XVI-XVII wieku,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 100 (1993), p. 124.

386 Mączak, “Jedyna i nieporównywalna?,” pp. 124–125.

387 Antoni Mączak, Klientela. Nieformalne systemy władzy w Polsce i w Europie XVI-XVII w. (Warszawa: Semper, 1994), p. 142.

388 Bogucka, Samsonowicz, Dzieje miast, pp. 321–328.

389 Bogucka, Samsonowicz, Dzieje miast, p. 328.

390 Samsonowicz, Życie miasta średniowiecznego, p. 146.

391 Leonid Żytkowicz, “Przesłanki i rozwój przytwierdzenia do gleby ludności wiejskiej w Polsce – poł. XIV w. – początek XVI w.,” Przegląd Historyczny, Vol. 75 (1984), p. 6.

392 Żytkowicz, “Przesłanki i rozwój,” p. 20.

393 Cf. Andrzej Wyczański, Studia nad folwarkiem szlacheckim w Polsce w latach 1500–1580 (Warszawa: PWN, 1960), pp. 27–36; Rusiński, “Drogi rozwojowe,” p. 622; Roman Grodecki, “Początki gospodarki folwarcznej w Polsce,” in: Studia z dziejów kultury polskiej, eds. Henryk Barycz and Jan Hulewicz (Warszawa: Gebethner i Wolff, 1947), p. 58.

394 Wyczański, Studia nad folwarkiem, pp. 50–54; Jan Rutkowski, Studia z dziejów wsi polskiej w XVI–XVIII w. (Warszawa: PWN, 1956), pp. 65–81.

395 Rusiński, “Rugi chłopskie,” p. 30.

396 Andrzej Wyczański, Wieś polskiego Odrodzenia (Warszawa: PWN, 1969), p. 83.

397 Wyczański, Wieś, pp. 95–101.

398 Wyczański, Wieś, pp. 136–138.

399 Wyczański, Studia nad folwarkiem, p. 60.

400 Grodecki, “Początki gospodarki folwarcznej,” pp. 64–69.

401 Wyczański, Studia nad folwarkiem, pp. 222, 227–228.

402 Cf. overview in: Leonid Żytkowicz, “Trends of Agrarian Economy in Poland, Bohemia and Hungary from the Middle of the Fifteenth to the Middle of the Seventeenth Century,” in: Central Europe in Transition. From the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century, ed. Peter Burke, Antoni Mączak and Henryk Samsonowicz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 65–66.

403 Andrzej Wyczański, “Czy chłopu było źle w Polsce XVI wieku?,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 85 (1978), p. 628.

404 Bogucka, Samsonowicz, Dzieje miast, pp. 463, 477–488.

405 Małowist, Europa i jej ekspansja, p. 95.

406 Wyczański, “Czy chłopu,” p. 636.

407 Władysław Konopczyński, Dzieje Polski nowożytnej (Warszawa: PAX, 1986), p. 295.

408 Rutkowski, Wieś europejska, pp. 33–34.

409 Wyczański, Wieś, pp. 171–172.

410 Rusiński, Rozwój gospodarczy, p. 71.

411 Maria Bogucka, “The Towns of East-Central Europe from the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century,” in: Central Europe in Transition. From the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century, eds. Peter Burke, Antoni Mączak and Henryk Samsonowicz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 98.

412 Bogucka, “The Towns of East-Central Europe,” p. 98.

413 Vera Zimányi, Economy and Society in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Hungary (1526–1650) (Budapeszt: Akademia Kiadó, 1987), p. 50.

414 Russocki, “Monarchie stanowe,” p. 77.

415 Zsigmond Pal Pach, “The Development of Feudal Rent in Hungary in the Fifteenth Century,” The Economic History Review, 2nd ser., Vol. 19, No. 1 (1966), pp. 1–14.

416 Cf. Juliusz Demel, Historia Rumunii (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1986), pp. 145–147; Waclaw Felczak, Historia Węgier (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1983), pp. 111–112; David Prodan, “The Origins of Serfdom in Transylvania,” Slavic Review, Vol. 49, No. 1 (1990), pp. 1–18; Jerzy Reychman, Dzieje Węgier (Łódź: PWN, 1963), p. 26; J. Szekely, “Ideologia wojny chłopskiej na Węgrzech w 1514 r.,” Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 67, No. 3 (1960), pp. 634–649.

417 Bela K. Király, “Neo-Serfdom in Hungary,” Slavic Review, No. 2 (1975), p. 269. Janos Bak, “The Late Medieval Period, 1382–1525,” in: History of Hungary, eds. Peter F. Sugar, Péter Hanák, and Tibor Frank (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1990), pp. 78–80.

418 Gyorgy Komoroczy, “Przegląd badań z zakresu węgierskiej historii gospodarczej opublikowanych w latach 1938–58,” Roczniki Dziejów Społecznych i Gospodarczych, Vol. 22 (1960), p. 167; Laslo Mákkai, Agrarian Landscapes of Historical Hungary in Feudal Times (Budapeszt: Akademia Kiadó, 1980), p. 11.

419 Pach, The Role of East-Central Europe, pp. 218–219.

420 Zimányi, Economy and Society, p. 30.

421 Mákkai, Agrarian Landscapes, p. 13; Pach, The Role of East-Central Europe, p. 251.

422 Pach, The Role of East-Central Europe, p. 251.

423 Istvan N. Kiss, “Agricultural and Livestock Production: Wine and Oxen. The Case of Hungary,” in: Central Europe in Transition. From the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century, eds. Peter Burke, Antoni Mączak and Henryk Samsonowicz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 88–96.

424 Bogucka, “The Towns of East-Central Europe,” pp. 98, 100.

425 Josef Macek, “The Emergence of Serfdom in the Czech Lands,” East-Central Europe, Vol. 9, Nos. 1–2 (1982), p. 21.

426 Alois Mika, “Rozwój gospodarki dworskiej na ziemiach czeskich od XIV do XVII w.,” Roczniki Dziejów Społecznych i Gospodarczych, Vol. 22 (1960), p. 15.

427 Václav Husa, Historia Czechosłowacji (Praga: Artia, 1967), pp. 96–98; Harrison Thomson, Czechoslovakia in European History (Princeton: Prinveton University Press, 1944), pp. 61–62.

428 Mika, “Rozwój gospodarki dworskiej,” pp. 16–17.

429 Vera Sadova, “Eksport czeskiego zboża do Niemiec a rozwój produkcji towarowej w Czechach w okresie przedbiałogórskim,” Roczniki Dziejów Społecznych i Gospodarczych, Vol. 22 (1960), p. 37.

430 Macek, “The Emergence of Serfdom,” p. 19; Anton Špiesz, “Czechoslovakia's Place in the Agrarian Development of Middle and East Europe of Modern Times,” Studia Historica Slovaca, Vol. 6 (1969), p. 43.

431 Roman Heck and Marian Orzechowski, Historia Czechosłowacji (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1969), p. 147.

432 Heck, Orzechowski, Historia Czechosłowacji, p. 161.

433 William E. Wright, “Neo-Serfdom in Bohemia,” Slavic Review, No. 2 (1975), p. 246.

434 Heck, Orzechowski, Historia Czechosłowacji, p. 162.

435 Anton Klima, “Agrarian Class and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Bohemia,” Past and Present, Vol. 85 (1979), p. 52.

436 Husa, Historia Czechosłowacji, p. 115, cf. Klima, “Agrarian Class,” pp. 50–51.

437 Klima, “Agrarian Class,” p. 51.

438 Heck, Orzechowski, Historia Czechosłowacji, p. 166.

439 Husa, Historia Czechosłowacji, pp. 116–117.

440 Cf. Mákkai, Agrarian Landscapes, p. 230; Špiesz, “Czechoslovakia’s Place,” p. 58.

441 The above statement applies to Hungary to a smaller extent because a manorial-serf economy developed in this country earlier and it enjoyed a larger autonomy from the Habsburg monarchy.

442 On the association between level of economy and authoritarian systems, see: Jerzy Tomaszewski, “The Economy of Central and South-Eastern European Countries during the Inter-War Years,” in: Dictatorships in East-Central Europe 1918–1939. Anthologies, ed. Janusz Żarnowski (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1983), pp. 57–83.

443 Andrzej Ajnenkiel, “The Evolution of the Forms of Government in Central Europe. 1918–1939,” in: Dictatorships in East-Central Europe 1918–1939, ed. Janusz Żarnowski (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1983), pp. 27–57; Władysław Kulesza, Koncepcje ideowo-polityczne obozu rządzącego w Polsce w latach 1926–1935 (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1985); Franciszek Ryszka, “European Fascism. Divergences and Similarities. Prospects of Comparative Research,” in: Dictatorships in East-Central Europe 1918–1939, ed. Janusz Żarnowski (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1983), pp. 223–247; Janusz Żarnowski, “Authoritarian Systems in Central and South-Eastern Europe (1918–1939). Analogies and Differences,” in: Dictatorships in East-Central Europe 1918–1939, ed. Janusz Żarnowski (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1983), pp. 9–27.

444 On the impact of real socialism, see: Krzysztof Brzechczyn, “O ewolucji społeczeństw socjalistycznych. Próba wstępnej konceptualizacji”, in: Analizy metodologiczne w nauce, eds. Teresa Grabińska and Mirosław Zabierowski (Wrocław: Oficyna Wydawnicza Politechniki Wrocławskiej, 1997), pp. 105–121, Krzysztof Brzechczyn, “The Collapse of Real Socialism in Eastern Europe versus the Overthrow of the Spanish Colonial Empire in Latin America: An Attempt at Comparative Analysis,” Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in History and Archaeology, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2004), pp. 105–133.