Bernstein, Kautsky and the Revisionist Controversy

  • M. C. Howard
  • J. E. King
Part of the Radical Economics book series (RAE)


In the second half of the nineteenth century Germany experienced extremely rapid economic development, which transformed the Empire (itself completed as a political unit only in 1871) from a relatively backward and largely agricultural area into one of the world’s major industrial powers. The population grew from 35 million in 1849 to 65 million in 1910, and while the numbers in rural communities remained almost constant at 25 million the urban population quadrupled. There was a massive expansion in the output of coal, metal products, heavy engineering, the shipbuilding industry, chemicals and electrical goods, pig iron alone increasing from barely half a million tons in 1860 to almost 15 million by 1910. Germany’s late start brought with it the most modern technology, and its large plants yielded all the benefits of economies of scale. But the triumph of the factory system must not be exaggerated. Outworkers, artisans and ‘peasant industries’ also displayed a remarkable resilience, and as late as 1907 more than one-third of the occupied population was still to be found in agriculture and forestry. In the north and east especially, the power of the semi-feudal landlords (Junkers) remained largely intact.


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Copyright information

© M. C. Howard and J. E. King 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. C. Howard
    • 1
  • J. E. King
    • 2
  1. 1.University of WaterlooUK
  2. 2.La Trobe UniversityAustralia

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