Lecture 2 Medieval Economy F11

Lecture 2 Medieval Economy F11 - European Economic History...

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European Economic History Economics 343 Lecture 2 The Medieval Economy The Transformation Begins
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Before Economic Growth Stagnant European GDP p.c. before 1500 Primarily an agricultural economy 80-90% of population works in agriculture. Approximately (Current $) $500 per capita. What does this mean in terms of a standard of living? Most of population lives in villages or small farmsteads. Similar to poorest regions of today’s world But! By 1700, nearly $1000 per capita.
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Western European GDP per capita in 1990 International Geary-Khamis dollars (Source: Maddison, 2005) 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 1 1000 1500 1600 1700 1820 1850 1870 1913 1950 1970 2003 Dollars per capita
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Household Expenditures ---circa 1500 Housing Clothing Food---80 to 90% of all expenditure Hunger is not uncommon, nor is famine.
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Housing Houses are one or two rooms Wooden, stone, or “wattle and daub” with a thatched roof. Few barns---animals in house---problems of mice, rats and disease.
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A Well-to-do Peasant in Middle Ages (poor Irish peasants 19 th century)
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Clothing Typically, most people have two sets of clothing, one for daily wear and the other for special days. Loose-fitting, woven; knitting not invented If lucky they have an under-garmet of linen. Most clothing is woolen, only the wealthy few might have some silk. Leather shoes if they can afford them---hence wooden or bast shoes.
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Food—80-90% of Household Budget Typical Northern European Diet Most important: cereals-grains-”corn” Bread of rye or barley, sometimes wheat--- heavy, full of chaff and grit. Porridges or gruels Beer and ale Legumes (peas and beans) some fruit and vegetables Meat and fish relatively rare---mostly pork, beef and game for the wealthy (top 5% of population.
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Was this a good diet? The Happy Peasants of Breughel (1525-1569)
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Measuring Health Professor Robert Fogel of the University of Chicago and 1993 Nobel Prize Winner---started field of Biometrics. How many calories do you need to survive? Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is total energy requirement that individual needs to maintain the body at complete rest and sustain vital functions but no work. For contemporary 25 year old U.S. male BMR is 1300-1400 calories per day. If sedentary, some movement but no work, it is 2300 calories. For moderate activity, need 2750 calories
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Caloric Consumption in pre-modern Europe We lack information on the period before 1700. Average Daily Caloric Intake
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This note was uploaded on 09/29/2011 for the course ECON 343 taught by Professor Moondra during the Fall '11 term at Rutgers.

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Lecture 2 Medieval Economy F11 - European Economic History...

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