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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165 views

How did people trade for food and drink in Bronze age cities?

The time period I’m specifically interested in is Mesopotamian civilizations in the early to middle bronze age, but I don’t mind examples from other comparable cultures. I’m curious how people in ...
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1 answer
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How accurate is Belloc's version of European economic history in The Servile State, with regards to the seizing of the monastic lands?

This is my own short summary of Belloc's version of European economic history, which he lays out in The Servile State (1912): In 1541, the lands of the monasteries were expropriated by Henry VIII. ...
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How did ancient Greek city-states secure mines to mint coins?

I have a basic question about mines and coinage. I have read that different cities minted their own coins. The Athenians were lucky with the Laurion mines which contained silver. But what did cities ...
2 votes
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157 views

What is the longest lasting hyperinflationary period in history?

I guess hyperinflation periods depend on the definition of hyperinflation, which makes it hard to define and find comparative data. I could find which has been the worse in terms of percentages (...
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How did the accounting and capital organization system work in communist countries like the USSR? Did ideology justify or undermine the system? [closed]

It's difficult to see how the leaders could have kept track of such a complex system, in such a big country as the Soviet Union (USSR), without recognizing the existence of capital relations, the ...
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In Mughal India, which factors determined which countries were allowed forts?

I'm roughly halfway through this excellent extensive book: Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company. One of the more memorable sections to me was the account of how the first gestures ...
5 votes
1 answer
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What legal code first provided tenants rights and/or covered eviction?

Historically land ownership, and extraction of tax/rents from tenants on that property and therefore the extraction of tenants from the property in event of non payment or other cause would have been ...
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1 answer
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Was the unemployment rate in the Nazi regime lower than the Weimar Republic?

We know that the Nazis didn't count women, Jews, and National Labour Service in the unemployment statistics, which was called 'invisible unemployment', Putting the 'invisible unemployment' scenario ...
8 votes
3 answers
570 views

Did the Europeans benefit economically from the scramble for Africa?

In the following video Rudyard Lynch, owner of the youtube channel "whatifalthist" claims that Nearly every African colony cost the Europeans far more than they got out of it – the ...
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Are there any estimates of military spending as a percentage of total government expenditure anywhere in 15th century Europe?

A little piece of information stuck in my head about the military expenditure. Namely, the current expenditure on the military is incredibly low when compared to that in the middle ages. I am not sure,...
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Why did peasant serfdom last longer in Eastern Europe than in Western?

My concern is for the early-modern period, roughly 16th to 19th centuries. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia seem to provide the best known examples of long-lasting serfdom. The article on ...
4 votes
3 answers
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What were the cost of comparable aircraft?

When comparing military equipment, little attention is paid to cost, at least in the popular resources (obviously, military establishments pay close attention to how much they are paying!) E.g., there ...
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Was the Achaemenid Empire richer than the Sasanian Empire?

A while ago I read a passage regarding the economy of different Persian empires. The passage was implying that the Achaemenid Persian empire (a.k.a first Iranian empire) was in total ``far richer"...
2 votes
1 answer
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Was the term "depression" (in the economic sense) originally coined to describe and downplay current events in the 1930s?

Several years ago, I heard someone claim that the distinction between "recession" and "depression" is less than 100 years old. Apparently all economic downturns used to be called ...
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How did economic composition change during the world wars?

I'm trying to understand how economic composition changed during the world wars in various countries. One route would be following the expenditure approach to gdp accounting, but in more detail. For ...
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2 answers
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Why were some German and Japanese cities bombed more than others during WW2? Is there a scientific consensus?

I'm trying to study the long-run effects the strategic bombing of German and Japanese cities had on urban and economic development. Reading some articles about it I get contradictory information about ...
3 votes
1 answer
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What was the wealth distribution in US antebellum North / South

My question relates to the following quote from chapter XI of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: I had very strangely supposed, while in slavery, that few of the comforts, and ...
2 votes
5 answers
472 views

What caused the stagnation in real wage growth in the later half of the 20th century?

During that time, U.S. per capita GDP grew briskly, "average" (mean wages) grew slowly, and "median" wages grew hardly at all. What reasons do economists cite for the differences ...
6 votes
1 answer
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What was the expected retirement age for men in Spain in 1936?

I am trying to find out what the expected age of retirement was for men in Spain in 1936. I tried searching the Internet but the results I found were for recent years and not time past.
1 vote
2 answers
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Does city-specific economic data for the pre-WW2 decades exist for Japan and Germany? How do I find out?

I'd like to the an analysis using historical economic data of Japan and Germany. For that I'm trying to figure out, if data exists from before 1945 of economic production in different japanese and ...
11 votes
1 answer
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What are the 'mushroom trusts' referenced in Churchill's "Second World War"?

It is in a section where he is referring to the collapse of the German economy during and after hyperinflation… p.10 The Gathering Storm – The Follies of the Victors 1919–1929 Here is the passage that ...
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Was the financial crash of 2008 caused by top graduates of the American Ivy Leagues working at wall street banks?

From this article by Lisandro 'Leloy' Claudio, a Philippine/a Filipino professor of history, politics, South & Southeast Asian Studies (and not necessarily of finance, economics, mathematics or ...
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Did the world suffer a general economic decline in 1870?

Last year the World Bank reported that : According to World Bank forecasts, the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year. That would represent the deepest recession since the Second World War, ...
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How many labor hours were required to build wooden sailing ships? [closed]

I'm trying to find out how many hours of labor it took to build wooden sailing ships. (Obviously it would depend on e.g. size, and the ideal result would be a formula or table relating such parameters ...
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1 answer
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What's going on with this graph of wheat prices in "Civilization and Capitalism"?

I've been reading through Fernand Braudel's Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century Vol I: The Structures of Everyday Life. On page 135, there's a graph of the price of a quintal of wheat in ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Were there any watermills within sailing distance of the sea?

Watermills were widely used in times when river transport was even considerably more economically important than it is now. This sometimes led to conflict between these two uses of a river, e.g. The ...
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1 answer
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Did countries use insurance to compensate for their economic losses after the Black Death/Spanish flu/Asian flu? [closed]

The first insurance contracts as we know them today appeared between the 12th and 13th centuries in Italy. The Florentine chronicler Giovani Villani asserts that insurance originated in Lombardy in ...
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1 answer
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What was the nature of a widow's personal estate in Colonial America?

In books that discuss figures in Colonial America and early American history (and I believe more broadly throughout contemporaneous European history), it is relatively common to see discussions of ...
2 votes
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How long did it take to make a woolen sweater?

In premodern times, in temperate or colder climates, clothing was orders of magnitude more expensive than today and textile production made up a large percentage of total economic activity. I'm ...
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1 answer
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Was the post-WW2 form of globalisation a historical abberation? [closed]

I was discussing this with a friend and while I argued that globalisation (in the form of transportation of goods, people, knowledge and technology) existed since the early 17th century,he rebutted by ...
6 votes
1 answer
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Which is the oldest, still current, government debt?

(Not sure if this belongs to politics or history). Which is the oldest, still current, government debt? The answer of course depends on definitions since debts usually are "rolled over" at ...
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Was the tariff that Alexander Hamilton wanted to create (in his Financial Plan) ever put into action by Hamilton?

Hamilton's Financial plan had 3 parts: The U.S. government would pay all debts The U.S. government would create a national bank The U.S. government would impose a high tax on imported goods (tariff) ...
1 vote
2 answers
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Is there validity to the claim of a scavenger hunting barter economy in the history of money?

I've read in economics textbooks, and seen in videos like this, saying that before money, there was a barter economy was based on a coincidence of wants, and people would have to go on basically a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What did people used to exchange for goods during the 1920s German hyperinflation while the official currency was not trusted

When the 1920s hyperinflation happened, it seemed that the rapid currency devolution is not too hard to see. This must result in the people who own and sell goods distrust the future of the currency; ...
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Why didn't Louis XVI print money prior to the French revolution?

I'm currently reading "Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution" by Simon Schama. It is an ok book. There is a lot of divergence into the culture leading up to the revolution, which ...
0 votes
2 answers
231 views

In a medieval city how large a market was needed relative to population? [closed]

In a large medieval city fed by the agricultural product of the area, plus imports such as grains, spices, fish, etc. and also serving as a regional hub for the exchange of trade goods, what ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Was the US dollar, the Soviet reserve currency too?

Was the Soviet rouble also backed by the US dollar, which was the global reserve currency at the time? I remember reading something about Soviets taking aid from the US, in the 1970s, after Soviet ...
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Are the coal mining revenue provided in the "Gentleman Jack" realistic for 1830s?

The "Gentleman Jack" series is based on the diaries of Anne Lister - a XIX century woman, often declared as "first modern lesbian" (the "gentleman" is apparently a slur, ...
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1 answer
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Why did Mao use political mobilization to prevent inefficiency and slack? [closed]

China just followed the Soviet Union model and inevitably encountered the same problems that socialist countries all suffered in the 1950s and 1960s. That is the lack of incentives of people and the ...
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1 answer
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Was there a Norse custom of "one keeps what one defends"?

Watching a Viking TV series this cropped up where a farmer was challenged to fight for his farm. It appears that the Norse did not have title deeds but rather relied on the sword to settle ownership ...
13 votes
1 answer
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How much did a sword cost in AD 1000 Constantinople?

Qualifications: Obviously, swords vary in quality. Ideally, I would like to know what a standard army issue sword would have cost, if I bought it privately. But I realised we may only be able to ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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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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Are there post-1700 examples of large scale long term reductions in living standards? [closed]

I am looking for examples where an old person could talk of the 'good old times' and these were objectively better than the current times. Large scale meaning it affected not just individuals or a ...
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3 answers
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Has there ever been a case where a country adopted the currency of another country with a smaller economy?

Sometimes sovereign nations abandon their currencies (partially or fully) and adopt the currency of another state. For example, the currency of El Salvador was replaced by the United States dollar in ...
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1 answer
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Why is the Amazon rubber boom said to have started in 1879?

According to Amazon Rubber Boom From the beginning of the second half of the 19th century, rubber began to exert a strong attraction to visionary entrepreneurs. The activity of latex extraction in ...
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1 answer
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Why did Burgers' Transvaal try to build rail east?

According to shanskraal, [Thomas Burgers, president of the Transvaal Republic] considered a railway link with the non-British port of Delagoa Bay (Maputo) as essential for the economic survival of ...
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What factors accounted for the pattern of caranvanserai across Eurasia? [closed]

This is a question we had in an AP World History test last week: I was able to answer (c) correctly (improvements in sea navigation and technology caused more and more people to transition from land-...
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3 answers
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What determines whether slavery is economically efficient in industrialized/modern era economies?

Various forms of slavery were nearly universal before the industrial revolution. After industrialization, it would naively seem forced labor would continue to be widespread, as there is no way to ...
2 votes
1 answer
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How did different asset classes perform during the Weimar hyperinflation?

I read many years ago a story about someone in Germany in the 1920s who had been tipped a US dollar immediately seeking investment advice presumably because it was so valuable. Now, this did not make ...
20 votes
4 answers
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Why did the USSR have two sources of currency?

An inscription on the 1, 3, and 5 rubles notes says that it is a State Treasury Note (Государственный Казначейский Билет), and that it is guaranteed by the entire property of the Union of SSR (...
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