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Overpopulation

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkWren View Post
It doesn't appear to discuss inflation, only economic theory.
Whatever, there's probably something in there.

Quote:
Neoclassical economics is sometimes criticized for having a normative bias. In this view, it does not focus on explaining actual economies, but instead on describing a "utopia" in which Pareto optimality applies.
From the Wikipedia page. So... apparently not.

The problem is that inflation is tied to the price of basic commodities but over time some of those can be warped by technology, etc. Like now we use gasoline, food, clothing and automobiles.... well in 1492 the average person probably made their own clothing and two of the other three weren't needed. So it's really just food but technology has changed so much it's pretty much meaningless to compare how much it would cost for a barrel of flour now compared to then.

Which is why I think it would be best to compare it to global GDP of the time. Of course, there could also be major problems with that, too. I'm not an economist, it just seems to make sense.

Since money at the time was silver, the easiest way to adjust is to look up the silver content and then find teh price of that on the comodities market today.

But with time and technology the price of those commodities is changed by far more than inflation so it quickly becomes inaccurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Ben View Post
The problem is that inflation is tied to the price of basic commodities but over time some of those can be warped by technology, etc. Like now we use gasoline, food, clothing and automobiles.... well in 1492 the average person probably made their own clothing and two of the other three weren't needed. So it's really just food but technology has changed so much it's pretty much meaningless to compare how much it would cost for a barrel of flour now compared to then.
So are you saying we'll depend on other commodities in the near future?

I think that depends on whether or not we'll still be using oil, or if there's a new fabled molecule that replaces benzene. How can you predict when a revolution occurs? It's like spitting in the wind.

Also, taylors did exist in 1492 (the profession of making clothes for other people). Hard to say if there were low budget ones that could churn out faster products just so they could eat that winter though.

Of course, tayloring is only recognized as an art form these days, and when you think of taylors in the past (or at least when I first think of them), you think of fancy clothes for rich people with many buttons and silk pantaloons. However, it was probably both a key service (just, knit somebody a woolen or linen overshirt as a favour) as well as an art form. Why not? How do villagers survive? People do things for each other as well as themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Since money at the time was silver, the easiest way to adjust is to look up the silver content and then find teh price of that on the comodities market today.
Or you could measure several people's wealth in silver relative to their assets - usually, since most things are perishable, that'd be land and maybe how many servants they had or whatever. Not to mention things get stolen all the time.

One task requires a multi-background check of several people long dead and the other requires something like a paleontologist (whatever the word for digging up and examining things within history is).

Also, the price of silver fluctuates, even today. How can you determine what the demand for silver was, back in the day? And how can you guage the worth of that? I think looking at assets and ownership of the times is a better guage (maybe wealth distribution too; though probably no exact measurements there - just that most people were poor, except in maybe places like Venice).

We'll probably never get an exact calculation. If anything, we'd have to reach for an abstract comparison.

Quote:
But with time and technology the price of those commodities is changed by far more than inflation so it quickly becomes inaccurate.
Inflation, since it's tied to the idea that money is an item, is warped and no longer applies. This happens with pretty much every currency change (and every change of currency forces the population to accept the new currency; the new currency is a different item, hence the same inflation doesn't apply - there's a new equation).

Quote:
Originally Posted by impfireball View Post
So are you saying we'll depend on other commodities in the near future?

I think that depends on whether or not we'll still be using oil, or if there's a new fabled molecule that replaces benzene. How can you predict when a revolution occurs? It's like spitting in the wind.
If we're talking inflation from 1492 to today that's an entirely different ballgame than near future type inflation. A basic commodity then might have been a good ax to chop the daily supply of wood, something you can buy now for $20 might have been a few days wages back then, or maybe not. It's not really enough to just compare the cost in silver of X back then to the cost of silver for it today. The differences in technology and daily life account for far more variation than the changes in the purchasing power of money.

For a good look I suspect you'd have to look at yearly changes in the small scale. Year to year or decade to decade price fluctuation with the basic commodities you're measuring changing on occasion.

For example, http://www.littlewoodham.org.uk/research/mark.htm gives the price of some things in the 17th century.

A hundred oak boards cost the same as two bushels of oats. Yet they're massively different today.

Well, I guess we could compare a few people that have some decent solid assets (like land), and how long they held those assets for. Servants and land seem to be the most dependable (or solid/versatile) things and might measure wealth even more than silver (well, depending upon where you lived; but still).

Bushels of oats and even wood and axes are considered perishable back then, I bet. Another measure would be the number of times a person sought services, such as the smith to sharpen his axe for chopping wood, and then how much silver he had. Even the tools of the smith are perishable - he has to make new ones or put some effort into looking after the ones he has.





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