In earlier medieval times, Guilds (originally Gilds) were social and religious institutions, providing mutual support to their members. In later periods, they came to be exclusive associations for mercantile groups, such as merchants, or craftsmen.
Guilds would help their members in a number of ways:
- Supporting the families of dead members
- Setting price ranges for wares (thus preventing uncompetitive pricing)
- [The Guilds of Early Modern Augsburg] Talks about the economics of the shoemakers, barbers & bathers, millers and joiners guilds of a 16th Century German City