By Roger Price
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Extra info for An Economic History of Modern France, 1730–1914
Of this some 127 million tonnes were consumed at the place of production, indicating the predominance of semi-closed economic systems, and the remaining 46 million were consumed at an average distance of 60 km. from the place of production or import. 9 Such calculations cannot be statistically accurate, but probably this is as good a judgment of proportions as we can hope for In the 1840s communication remained very difficult, and the volume of traffic restrained. Large regions remained impermeable.
90 fr. Cheaper transport meant a reduction in prices for the consumer yet at the same time an increase in returns for the producer and for the merchant. This served to increase purchasing power and consumption. Regions already more heavily engaged in commerce tended to be more alert to new possibilities, and this is a partial explanation of the fact that if the rail network accelerated the development of poor regions, that of the richer was even more rapid, and regional disparities were maintained or even increased.
The concentration of traffic on Paris became more marked than ever. The responsiveness of producers and consumers to the new situation should not be exaggerated. The business world needed to be assured of the potential for profit of a new market opened up by rail before they would enter it, and this took some time. It seems unlikely, because of this factor, that a genuine national market existed before the 1880s. Notes 1. , Les banques europeennes et /'industrialisation internationale dans Ia premiere moitie du 19e siecle, 1964.