Reply To: 1360s Doublet Project

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Also, I agree that we have to be careful about calling medieval / early modern people ‘poor’ because their economies produced different things than ours. I like talking about societies which have a lot of ‘durable stuff’ per person and societies with less. There are reasons why late medieval peasants and artisans often took time off rather than work to get more of the simple goods they could buy, or why settlers in 17th and 18th century North America or the 20th century Pacific Islands often talked to the locals, looked at their life and the lives of the locals, and vanished one morning to join an indigenous community. Sometimes people would rather govern themselves, or have a good climate and time to hang around, than be in a place with lots of movable goods.

I get frustrated with the economists who invent numbers for world GDP before 1900 and declare that in the Olden Days everyone had a very low income. Their numbers are made up, and they don’t ask how much people today would pay for some of the things those ‘poor’ people took for granted.