In A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, Chapter 4, Barbara W. Tuchman writes:
The governing fact was that medieval organization by this time [i.e., the 14th century] had passed to a predominantly money economy. Armed forces were no longer primarily feudal levies serving under a vassal’s obligation who went home after forty days; they were recruited bodies who served for pay.
This is in the context of a discussion about war, how it was conducted and, to the point, how it was paid for by the parties that initiated it (i.e., the kings).
What does she mean by this?
I understand that the basic message is that soldiers now were for hire, needed to be paid a salary and the money had to come from somewhere, which created its own set of problems.
But the phrasing sounds as if something deeper was going on: some currents sweeping across society, a change in how human affairs were structured and that somehow had something to do with the flow of money.
Later in the book, Tuchman mentions that around this time Constantinople was going through the same processes operating in the West, among which "feudal service inadequately replaced by a money economy." The way she speaks of it, it is as if it is something bigger: the money economy. But as opposed to what other kind of economy?
So is this a thing, i.e., that money becomes much more of a driver of human interactions in this period, replacing... well, what? If yes, does the phenomenon have a name? Has it been written about anywhere, like some book about fiscal history that I've never heard about?
It seems that the phrase itself ("rise of the money economy") was flagged as early on as 1944 as a kind of shibboleth invoked by historians to explain all sorts of transformations in the Middle Ages. At least according to this paper: Postan, M. M. 1944. “The Rise of a Money Economy.” The Economic History Review 14 (2): 123–34.
Or am I just reading too much into this paragraph?