As the governments of Western Europe began to stabilize and the lives of the people became easier, a new class of merchants and artisans began to emerge. These new workers formed themselves into what they called guilds.
A guild was a group of craftsmen or merchants who shared a similar trade. The guild did two important things. First, it helped regulate how business should be done. The guild established rules which regulated a particular industry.
Secondly, the guilds allowed the craftsmen to control the price of their goods. As a combined group they formed a monopoly. This allowed them to artificially set the prices at any level they desired.