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The Crash of ’45…1345

May 17, 2011

Venice tapestry

Does this remind you of anything?:

Venice,” wrote Braudel:
“was the greatest commercial success of the Middle Ages — a city
without industry, except for naval-military construction, which came to bestride
the Mediterranean world and to control an empire through mere trading

And most importantly, Frederick Lane writes:
“Venice’s rulers were less concerned with profits from industries than with profits from trade between regions that valued gold and silver differently.”

Also, a warning about the effects of population reduction:

The Black Death in Europe destroyed the Malthusian idea that fewer people would mean better life for the survivors — against it, came the Renaissance idea of the dignity and sanctity of each individual life. The chronicler Matteo Villani wrote in the 1360s:

“It was assumed, on account of the lack of people, that there would be an abundance of everything the law produces. But on the contrary, because of man’s ingratitude, everything was in unusually short supply … and in some countries there were terrible famines. It was thought there would be a profusion of clothing and of everything the human body needs besides life itself, and just the opposite occurred. Most things cost twice as much or more than they did before the plague and wages increased disjointedly to double.”

Long read but worth it.

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