Kystsamfunn og skogsbygder på Helgeland 1850–1950
- Side: 415-432
- Publisert på Idunn: 2014-01-09
- Publisert: 2012-12-01
This article aims to throw light on trade and economic interdependence between the coast and inland areas in Helgeland in the period between 1850 and 1950. Trade and the exchange of products were a basic strategy for survival. Until the latter part of the 19th century, trade was organised without the additional expense of middlemen and commodity exchange took place according to fixed standards and prices. Through a three-way exchange, based on trade between Norwegian and Swedish smallholders and the coastal population, Hans A. Meyer laid the ground for extensive economic activity. His suppliers lacked cash and were therefore bound to deliver primary products and handicrafts in order to obtain other necessities of life. However, financed by foreign capital, mining enterprises and industrial forestry led to major economic changes. A money economy grew rapidly, while fishermen and smallholders gained access to credit from local banks. Meyer and other traders gradually lost their economic advantage. Their dominance declined even more during the inter-war years as trade was spread among more participants. During the Second World War, product exchange flourished throughout the county thanks to rationing and scarcity, but disappeared again during the 1950s. New goods of new materials could be bought from local tradesmen and wooden products had had their day. They came therefore to serve only as nostalgic symbols for emigrants and tourists, without any further utility.