[ExI] Really? and EP (Keith Henson)

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Apr 22 10:36:44 UTC 2009

Keith asked me for a citation about money expansion in the period Dr Clark is investigating. I've been reading The New Oxford History of England - Plantagenet England, by Michael Prestwich. At the start of chapter 16 (The management of land), he discusses why land changed from a rental system to a direct management style.

 I quote "particular stress had been laid on monetary inflation. The evidence for prices suggests that a particularly sharp price rise was taking place around 1200. The hundred years from around 1220 saw a steady rise, with considerable short-term fluctuations. The early fourteenth century, for example, witnessed a period of inflation fuelled by a sharp increase in the quantity of coin in circulation."

I tried to find online the historical page which showed inflation and money supply in England which claimed that the money supply before the fourteenth century was very small, but I can't locate it again.
(as an aside, I found this page
which details inflation from 1750 to now - 1750 to WWII is a factor of three, post WWII everything spirals up, as detractors of modern monetary policy like to point out.)

Anyway, money and commerce change dramatically in the early part of the period Dr Clark researches. If he'd tried researching much earlier, he'd have probably found a lot less wills mentioning monetary amounts rather than land.

Finally to address Dan's question about population growth - the world's population has been growing, and European population grew in the medieval period. However, every time a productivity increase was made, population expanded within a few generations to fill it (hence the "Malthusian trap"). Overall people were never significantly consuming more calories than the human historical average until post-1800, when productivity starts exceeding population growth in the western world.



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