Economy Not Fixed Enough For You? A Little Plague Will Fix That
Is the economy not fixed enough for your taste? Still feeling a little down about low or negative interest rates, global political chaos, lack of opportunity, falling purchasing power and overall economic malaise? Fear not, there's an easy solution to that: plague.
Forgive me, but the link comes from my favorite guilty pleasure, the Daily Mail:
It was the devastating pandemic that wiped out half of medieval Britain’s population.
But the Black Death also had a surprising, and far more cheery, side-effect on our culture. It inadvertently gave rise to the birth of the English pub as we know it today, according to Robert Tombs, professor of history at Cambridge University.
He told an audience at the Chalke Valley History Festival, sponsored by the Daily Mail, how the Black Death, or bubonic plague, which reached this country in 1348 and killed millions, was followed by a period of higher wages and a boom in the brewing industry as British resilience shone through.
So you see, all we need is for half of the population to die off and VOILA, all our problems are solved. This would also eliminate a ton of debt, as there's no possible way for anyone to pay their student loans or credit cards if they've collapsed in a pile of boils and dead. So, there's that added benefit.
‘The unparalleled trauma left surprisingly few visible traces,’ he said. ‘Subjected to unimaginable horror, people carried on, and so the disaster was survived.
This resilience even created the opportunity for greater freedom and prosperity.’ Wages rose and prices fell, and the purchasing power of working people hit a new high.
Real incomes shot up by 250 per cent between 1300 and 1450, he said, and reached a level by 1500 that would not be permanently exceeded until the 1880s.
250%? Can you even imagine it? We as modern, toilet-flushing, plague-free Americans need $470.90 to purchase the same item that cost $20 in 1915.
Sure, things were way different back in 1300. And 1450. And 1500. And the 1880s. But you get the point.
Maybe all we need to dig our way out of this economic hole we're in isn't for the Fed to implode the economy by growing a pair and pulling out of unprecedented economic life support but plague, rats and all. Big, big rats. And crumbling infrastructure that barely supports sanitation and public health. Oh wait, we have that last one. So yeah, just rats.