The Colonial Preservation of the Miller’s Trade

Stacy E. Holden

in The Politics of Food in Modern Morocco

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033730
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039398 | DOI:
The Colonial Preservation of the Miller’s Trade

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Like Moroccan sultans, French administrators tried to ensure the provisioning of affordable flour to urban workers and the poor. Requiring massive amounts of start-up capital, industrial mills proved a costly and inefficient means of achieving this objective. The French therefore implemented policies that privileged the continued operation of water mills by Moroccan millers. Entrepreneurial investments highlighted the profits of the water mill's small-scale flour production. A continued reliance on the water mill also served colonial policies aimed at full employment of Moroccan workers. Factories required less manpower than water mills, and to forestall social and political unrest, French officials wanted to protect Moroccans from the dislocation of rapid modernization. This chapter argues that water mills, in terms of both cost and productive capacity, outperformed the industrial facilities operated by Europeans during the first seventeen years of the protectorate.

Keywords: water mill; Moroccan sultans; flour production; French administrators

Chapter.  10237 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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