Not quite Larry

There have been periods in Britain\’s history – the famine of the 1340s, followed by the Black Death – when there were colossal falls in living standards,

No, the Black Death caused, for those who survived of course, a massiove rise in living standards.

It was a Malthusian economy, see? Fewer people, same amount of land and production from it, higher living standards.

8 thoughts on “Not quite Larry”

  1. The shortage of labour, and the consequent rise in real wages, is one of the factors leading to the Peasant’s Revolt.

  2. Philip Ziegler’s book on the Black Death is particular good on this.

    He records the parties, the orgies, the fin de siècle abandon, as newly rich folk celebrated their inherited wealth amidst the likelihood of death.

  3. Larry might be on sounder ground if he pointed to other decades in the 14th Century, such as the 1310s, when famine struck.

    “The famines of the 1310s was unprecedented either before or after in European history. In all, the string of famine years killed off perhaps ten to fifteen percent of the population, with some areas suffering much worse.

    Crops were ruined, leading to starvation and driving up prices. The flooding broke scores of bridges and broke down dikes and dams. Constant rain stripped away topsoil, especially in uplands where trees had been cleared away to make room for farms on soil that was thin. In some places, the soil was eroded right down to bedrock and gravel, and farming was permanently abandoned. Even where the effects were not so drastic, the rains leeched away nitrates and left the soil poorer.”

  4. I read in Stephen Clarke’s 1,000 Years of Annoying the French that the death of much of the French speaking aristocracy and church and their replacement by Anglo-Saxon speaking lower classes was one of the main reasons why English replaced French in England.

  5. Good for the working classes, whose labour became more valuable. Probably not so good for the hirers of that labour.

    Hence the sumptuary laws – trying to keep the now richer lower orders in their place. Rather like the aomplaints about Ryanair holidays.

  6. “It was a Malthusian economy, see? Fewer people, same amount of land and production from it, higher living standards.”

    Are you claiming that only non-productives died?

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