Saturday, April 30, 2011

Parallels

As I lecture, I emphasize the parallels and connections between the ancient past and modern events.  For example, I point out the part that the Second Bank of the United States played with loose credit encouraging land speculation in the period after the War of 1812--and how this led to the Panic of 1819, which threw a large part of the American population out of work for a while. 

I am reading a paper by a student about the economic effects of the Black Death, and how it helped to destroy feudalism, because land lost much of its value when so much of the peasant labor force died.  She draws a parallel to the collapse of housing prices and the number of vacant houses because of it.  It is obviously not anywhere near as severe as the Black Death, but it is an interesting point--what sort of economic and political consequences might this have?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You should ask your student if we can read her paper too. I hope she gets a good grade.

Mauser said...

Wasn't part of the Renaissance made possible by the plague because with so much inheritance running around, people had money to burn?

Clayton said...

Not so much inheritance as that the population fell so much that it drove up wages for peasants. Increased trade with and through the Islamic world also made Italy rich.

Robin said...

Discussed in detail in "The Distant Mirror" I believe.