Questions tagged [economy]

Questions which concern the historical management, distribution, and usage of resources; why a particular resource, or state of production, occurred in a certain way. General economics questions are off-topic but may be welcome on our sister site Economics Stack Exchange.

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36 votes
10 answers
13k views

Why did the United Kingdom industrialize first?

What factors made the United Kingdom the first to industrialize? Was it simply the importance and benefit of its position in the global community for trade?
61 votes
9 answers
74k views

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during WW2?

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during the war? They produced a large amount of war material during 1939-1945, but how was this production financed? What were Germany's revenue streams that ...
10 votes
1 answer
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At the start of Barbarossa, what was the state of Germany's oil supply?

Very recently, I came across this statement from Wikipedia: In 1938, two thirds of German oil supply came from the United States and Latin America. It has a citation, some book reference that ...
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10 votes
3 answers
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How dependent was Nazi Germany on iron ore from Sweden?

From the wikipedia article on Swedish iron mining during WW2, there are a lot of uncited claims. I'll quote the most outstanding of them here: In the year before the war, Germany received 22 million ...
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19 votes
4 answers
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What forces/incentives drove the Mongols to conquer a much larger territory than they could comfortably settle or rule?

Internet resources on the Mongol Empire usually dwell on the Mongol conquests of a huge mass of territory. Unfortunately, seldom are the reasons behind the conquests explained. One gets the impression ...
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10 votes
4 answers
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How do we measure the adequacy of pre-modern monetary supply?

In a comment to a response to another question, P. Geerkens made the offhand comment that: the monetary supply of Europe was grossly inadequate until New World silver arrived. I'm intrigued. How ...
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35 votes
6 answers
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Was slavery really on the way out in the antebellum USA?

Gail Jarvis, in an encomium to the Dunning School writes: William A. Dunning fervently opposed slavery but his reading of the trends of the times led him to the conclusion that the institution was ...
24 votes
5 answers
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When and where was salt as valuable as gold?

I have often heard that gold and salt were sometimes considered of equal value. When and where did that occur?
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21 votes
3 answers
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What goods did Germany trade during World War II, and with whom?

I have scoured the internet for numerical figures and an actual list of raw materials to no avail. Moreover, I am reasonably certain that many of you are very knowledgeable upon this subject matter, ...
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20 votes
4 answers
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Why was gold so popular and valuable back when it did not have many real world uses?

I'm talking about back when it was first starting to get discovered, like 2000 B.C. (roughly). Gold was being used for coins, jewellery and more. It was a very well known commodity and accepted ...
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14 votes
3 answers
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In what ways was the Gold Confiscation Act of 1933 beneficial/detrimental to Americans?

On March 9, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) called Congress in for an emergency session, which would result in the speedy passing of the Gold Confiscation Act. According to FDR's Executive Order (...
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13 votes
6 answers
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Why did the Soviet Union's economy grow fast in the 1950's-1960's?

Communist economic systems self-implode. Today it has been recognized that Communism is bad for economic progress. There is no dispute that Communism makes countries poor based on what has happened in ...
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11 votes
3 answers
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GDP per capita of major combatants before and after WWII?

Perhaps this is difficult to measure and maybe not even a good metric for anything meaningful, but what was the GDP and GDP per capita for nations around the world immediately before World War II? ...
8 votes
4 answers
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What were the limitations on possession of wealth in Soviet Russia and how were they enforced?

Specifically: How were workers compensated, was wage equal everywhere? If not - what affected the variations? What were the limitations of possession of money and/or assets? How were they enforced? ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Why don't the Americas use ISO paper sizes?

In the mid-sixties, most countries standardized on ISO paper sizes (A-series, B-series, etc.). The Americas didn't. Why not? (Around the same time there was a failed push in the US to switch to ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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What was the price of a horse around 1750?

I'm looking for the average price of a horse, in British Pounds, around the year 1750. I'm interested in draft horses (they pull carts), not riding horses, but the difference in price between those ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Based on historical experience what would happen if/when the USA/EU fell? [closed]

In this video the guy talking mentions that when empires fall. Governance tends to become more local and smallscale(warlords, feudal lords etc) because threats tend to become smallscale and local. And ...
50 votes
2 answers
10k views

Where did the Romans store their cash?

In the era before banking was invented, where did wealthy Romans store their cash? The emperor probably could store it somewhere in the imperial palace thanks to the Praetorian guard, but what about ...
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47 votes
4 answers
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Where did Hitler get the funds to invest in economic development programs such as the autobahn when the German economy was in a depression?

Where did Hitler get the funds to invest in economic revitalization programs such as the autobahn and weapons' production when the German economy was in a depression?
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31 votes
7 answers
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Has there ever been anything like the oil boom we see today?

Since the discovery of oil, there have been entire nations that have literally been built from the ground up almost completely with oil money. This has been done, and is still being done, in ...
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27 votes
5 answers
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How heavily were the British taxing their American colonies?

The British levied several taxes on the American Colonists (13), which were at least part of the reason for the American Revolution. Were the British taxing the 13 colonies for more money than was ...
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26 votes
5 answers
844 views

How would you accurately use older British currencies when writing a story?

For writing a story set in the Napoleonic Wars era, how should one use the currencies accurately? I read in novels they use currencies like shilling, pound, guinea, sovereign, four (or six-, etc) ...
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24 votes
5 answers
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Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union?

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union? I'm interested in the metros and buses. If not, what did they cost? I'm most interested in the period around the late 1950's, early 1960's, but it ...
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22 votes
4 answers
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What was the size of surface of a cereal crop needed per man per year during the Dark Ages in Western Europe?

If I'm a peasant during the dark ages, what surface (in meters (<- I am in advance on my time)) I need to farm to get enough cereal (for bread and brew) ? how many cereals (in kg (<- again, I'm ...
21 votes
2 answers
30k views

Where did Japan get their oil during WWII?

To my understanding the United States was the largest exporter of oil to the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor. The Japanese islands aren't known for their oil fields. It's also believed that the attacks ...
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21 votes
3 answers
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What was the value of the spice trade during the age of exploration?

One of the initial motivations for the Europeans in sending exploration voyages was to find cheap spices. To be worth such expensive and risky mission, spices must have been worth a lot and must have ...
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18 votes
2 answers
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How did the Germans get housing again after WWII?

After a large number of homes were destroyed in the war, how did the average German become a homeowner again? I know about the Marshall Plan, but this question does not refer to how the economy in ...
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17 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can it be justified that an economic contraction of 11.3% is "the largest fall for more than 300 years"?

Today the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said "The OBR forecast the economy will contract this year by 11.3%, the largest fall in output for more than 300 years." This seems to me to be a very ...
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17 votes
1 answer
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How did Germany rebuild so quickly after World War I?

After World War I, Germany suffered severe economic damage. Germany was asked to make horrendous war reparations, suffered hyperinflation, social chaos .... In addition, world economic conditions were ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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How was security on the Silk Road between China and the West maintained?

From the 2nd century BC to the beginning of the 15th century the Silk Road (or more correctly roads, as there were alternative routes) was the primary trade route between China and the West. One ...
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16 votes
4 answers
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What was the worst economic crisis of all time?

I am interested in reading about the worst economic crisis of all time. By that I mean the largest reduction in GDP over a period of at least a year. The economic crisis should not have been caused by ...
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12 votes
4 answers
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How did New York become the financial hub of America?

Why did New York become the financial hub of America, rather than one of the other big cities?
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4 answers
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What was more expensive to lose in a gladiatorial fight: a gladiator or a rare animal?

We know that, aside from man-to-man combat, gladiatorial fights would often pit human gladiators against wild animals. Is there any documented historical evidence that would show what was a bigger ...
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11 votes
4 answers
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In the Soviet Union, how was payment enforced for public transportation?

From my previous, related question, public transport was not free in the USSR. It seems prices were very low, around 3 to 5 kopecks. This seems so low that I'm surprised the government didn't simply ...
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11 votes
2 answers
1k views

When did Northern India and N. China begin to dominate in global demographics?

Video: Human Population Through Time This simple video says that there were 170 million people in the world at the beginning of the current era. Each dot represents a million people -there are about ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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If the UK received the highest amount of Marshall Aid, why was it broke?

After WW2, Marshall Aid was distributed across Europe to facilitate the rebuilding of countries devastated by the war. West Germany received a large amount of this, and soon had a thriving economy. ...
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9 votes
2 answers
624 views

What jobs were available for migrants from the country to Rome?

I've read that the during the late Roman republic and early empire there was a great migration from country to urban living. Historians estimate in peninsular Italy 15%-20% of the population lived in ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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Did Roosevelt's New Deal lift the U.S. out of the depression or did it actually prolong the Depression and cripple American capitalism? [closed]

While the New Deal did much to lessen the worst affects of the Great Depression, its measures were not sweeping enough to restore the nation to full employment. Critics of FDR's policies, on both ...
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9 votes
3 answers
5k views

What was the reason for inflation in Britain after the Black Death?

According to the Wikipedia article Ordinance of Labourers 1349 During this outbreak [of Black Death], an estimated 30-40% of the population died. The decline in population left surviving workers in ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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How/why did Plzeň become the "armourer" for Austria-Hungary?

In 1938, Nazi Germany coveted (the modern) Czech [Republic] in large part for its Skoda Works which produced something like one-quarter of the arms and ammunition used by the Third Reich. From what ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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How much did a telephone call cost in the USA around 1920?

I am looking for data on historic telephone call prices in the US between 1920 and 1930. What did it cost to make a call? I know that, back then different rates were charged based on the distance of ...
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

What were the major imports and exports of Germany and France from 1850-1915?

Background: I've been doing some digging on nineteenth century trade, and so far have found this list of Britain's major imports to be an extremely helpful big picture guide. Sadly, I've yet to google ...
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7 votes
2 answers
531 views

Examples of censorship causing economic decline [closed]

I am writing a blog post about knowledge banning, either by state censorship or by self-imposed censorship, like the US Comics Code Authority of the 20th century. My focus is moral censorship, ...
7 votes
1 answer
527 views

Was there a contemporary understanding that 1706 was an exceptionally poor year?

This relates to the numerous (British) news items which seem to have overnight turned the present virus-induced economic downturn into a 'historic downturn'. While there are opinion-based aspects that ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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What was German GDP in 1919 in Goldmarks?

The Treaty of Versailles originally demanded German reparations of ℳ 226 billion: In January 1921, the Allied Powers grew impatient and established the reparation sum at 226 billion gold marks. The ...
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6 votes
3 answers
619 views

Did the U.S economy flourish after national debt was eliminated by President Andrew Jackson in 1835?

President Andrew Jackson totally eliminated U.S national debt in 1835. Did the U.S economy boom in the aftermath of debt elimination as a result of not being shackled by debt? Was it good economic ...
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5 votes
2 answers
617 views

When and why China started to make a difference in the superpower arena?

China is starting to be more and more remarked on as a superpower, but this surely didn't happen overnight, so what would be that decade that was very auspicious for China and why?
5 votes
2 answers
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Where can I find financial data for the first world war? [closed]

I want to analyse the first world war on the financial aspect. Here are some of my questions. Which countries borrowed money to win the war? Where were weapons manufactured? Where can I get ...
5 votes
1 answer
353 views

German 10 zehn heller

This 10 zehn heller , which I believe at the top on the reverse says "Notgeld" but it is really hard to make out. The date looks like "1827" but is probably 1923 and it seems to have a wood grain ...
4 votes
3 answers
472 views

What were Albert Speer's specialties, and how did he apply them when he led Organisation Todt?

I know that Speer was the Minister of Armaments and Munitions as well as the head of the Organisation Todt, but what exactly did he do to make the war production so productive? What changes did he ...
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