In the long eighteenth century, new consumer aspirations combined with a new industrious behavior to fundamentally alter the material cultures of northwest Europe and North America. This 'industrious revolution' is the context in which the economic acceleration associated with the Industrial Revolution took shape. This study explores the intellectual understanding of the new importance of consumer goods as well as the actual consumer behavior of households of all income levels. De Vries examines how the activation and evolution of consumer demand shaped the course of economic development, situating consumer behavior in the context of the household economy. He considers the changing consumption goals of households from the seventeenth century to the present and analyzes how household decisions have mediated between macro-level economic growth and actual human betterment. Ultimately, de Vries' research reveals the strengths and weaknesses of existing consumer theory, suggesting revisions that add historical realism to economic abstractions.
Jan de Vries has been a Professor of History and Economics at the University of California at Berkeley since 1973 where he holds the Sidney Hellman Ehrman endowed chair in European history. De Vries has also served as Chair of the History Department, Dean of Social Sciences, and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. He has written 5 books, 65 published articles and book chapters, and 45 book reviews. In addition, he is co-editor of 3 books. He is the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson and Guggenheim fellowships, among others; has held grants from NSF and NIH; and has held visiting fellowships to the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, and All Souls College, Oxford. He has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy,the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is the 2000 recipient of the A. H. Heineken Prize in History.
1. The transformation of consumer desire in the long eighteenth century; 2. The origins of the Industrious Revolution; 3. The Industrious Revolution: the supply of labor; 4. The Industrious Revolution: consumer demand; 5. The breadwinner-homemaker household; 6. A second Industrious Revolution?; Appendix I.