Fashioning Luxury for Factory Girls: American Jewelry, 1860-1914

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Abstract

The production of jewelry offers a lens through which to examine the nature of creativity in a capitalist economy. The fashioning of decorative goods for wider sections of society in the second half of the nineteenth century allowed manufacturers to expand the size of their businesses, but only by sustaining strong connections with consumers and keeping track of buyers' changing desires. The outcomes of decisions affecting their enterprises were determined by the degree to which producers understood what their customers wanted. Entrepreneurial activity was critical to the formation of strategies for coping with the problem of scarce or imperfect information and limited market power. These strategies induced a process of creative destruction, whereby old ways of making things changed, and technology, labor, skills, and capital were recombined.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-317
Number of pages23
JournalBusiness History Review
Volume85
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011