February 12, 2011

The Cobbler's Children

I understand this, even though I think it's deplorable:
Benjamin Franklin toured a textile factory in Norwich and observed a cruel and bitter irony.  He was amazed to see that the English clothmakers were themselves "half-naked or in tatters." The factory owner pointed proudly to his inventory and said, "those cloths are for Italy, those for Germany, the ones over here for the American islands, and those for the continent."  Franklin replied, "Have you none for the factory workers of Norwich?"
David Hackett Fischer, The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History
but I do not understand this:
Even though conditions today are very different in many respects, there is still a faint reflection of this background to the production of grener [blankets] in the areas where they are still woven.  They are not woven for the weaver's own use; it is extremely rare to find a single grene in those homes in Manndalen where they are still made.  Their commercial value is too great for anyone to feel that they can afford to keep a grene for themselves.
Marta Hofmann, The Warp-weighted Loom
I would think that at least a self-employed weaver would have gotten to use some cloth.

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