He asserts, in contrast, that these guilds were in fact "harbingers of civil society," in that in the guild system
, there were important elements of autonomy that "bordered on independence."
During this critical juncture in American history, journeymen started to question the underpinning philosophy of the guild system
. As Sean Wilentz, a labor historian, points out, the "notion of independence," embodied in the master craftsperson ideal, and "the artisan system" propelled the journeyman's "critique of proletarianization." Master craftsmen themselves became increasingly defensive of their privileged positions while clinging to the rhetoric of the guild system
Even the most humble workers in the guild system
Germany, for instance, has a guild system
that plays a critical role in "professionalizing" the skills of lower-level employees.
In the Japanese case the formation of local trade associations for wholesalers, as explained by Fujita, and of Chambers of Commercial Law, as examined by Miyamoto, were a direct consequence of the failure of the earlier guild system
governing mercantile practices in Tokugawa Japan and abolished by the Meiji regime.
This resulted in a horizontal social structure that privileged the value of the conjugal family and increased the importance of the London guild system
as members worked to circulate their wealth among themselves by fostering internal remarriages.
There is also an examination of the guild system
and its role in relation to migration to the city in this era.
He describes the rise of three major lithographic presses, the Dianshizhai, the Tongwenguan, and the Feiyingge (chapter two); tracks the development of Shanghai printing industry from small-scale business to full-fledged enterprises, with even occasional ventures into markets in Japan and Southeast Asia (chapter three); and delineates the organizational forms of Shanghai print houses as well as communal activities of the industry such as the guild system
and joint-stock investment (chapter four).