Bavarians - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Bavaria, traditionally an agrarian society, has become highly industrialized, with only 15 percent of the population involved in agriculture by 1970. Farms of 10 hectares or less (50.8 percent of all farms) are often owned by worker-farmers, who leave the bulk of the farm chores to their wives. Only 3.4 percent of the state's output comes from agriculture and forestry products. The principal crops are wheat and barley; oats, potatoes, rye, and sugar beets are also grown. Crops for animal feed, especially field corn, are especially prevalent in the south, where dairying predominates. Milk and dairy products such as cheeses, yogurt, and "Quark" (similar to yogurt) are Important exports, although a "butter mountain" and surpluses of powdered milk have resulted from Common Market subsidy programs. Bavarians traditionally eat their main meal at noontime, and it consists of meat (usually pork), starch (noodles, potato dumplings), and a vegetable (often salad). Beer, an integral part of Bavarian culture, is the beverage of choice.

Industrial Arts. In 1986, 42.8 percent of Bavarians were employed in mining, manufacturing, construction, and power. Handicrafts remain important, with more than 800,000 individuals employed as artisans in 1976—68,000 more than in 1956.

Trade. Modern shops, specialty stores, artisan workshops, and open-air produce markets cluster around a town square in the downtown area of most of the larger Bavarian towns and villages, and pedestrian zones ( Fussgäangerzone ) are prevalent. Tourism produces significant profits, especially in Old Bavaria where Alpine scenery and sports, numerous spas, and popular folk festivals such as Munich's Oktoberfest draw millions of tourists annually.

Division of Labor. Traditionally, artisan wives usually tended the shop in addition to managing the household. Both men and women actively worked on the farm, but the jobs alloted to each were usually defined on the basis of Gender, with men doing heavy work in the fields while women worked closer to the home. Today, women comprise approximately 40 percent of the workforce.

Land Tenure. Except for a small amount of state-owned land, property is privately owned. Since World War II, the Bavarian government has continued a large-scale program of land consolidation, or Flurbereinigung, begun in the nineteenth century, which has facilitated the mechanization of many farming techniques. While the postwar trend has been to expand farm holdings, the average Bavarian farm remains moderately sized and family-run.


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