Saturday, October 12, 2013

Viewing the Past (and Present) Through Tinted Lenses

I just cracked open Cipolla's Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 1000-1700. I'm only a few pages in, don't mind me, but the discussion of wealth distribution and poverty in pre-industrial/late Medieval European society struck me as a very good example of how much our perceptions matter.

Cipolla cites numerous studies of the wealth/income distribution in various parts of Europe prior to the industrial evolution, as evidence of the unfairness of the system and the poverty of the majority of those in it. The funny thing is, America today is less fair--we have an even more extreme divide between our rich and poor--than the vast majority of Copolla's examples, by an order of magnitude.

Myself, I'm rather worried about modern society.

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