GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2001-06 > 0991511615
From: "Séimí mac Liam" <>
Subject: Re: Translating the Value of Money over Time (was Forbes-Smith . . .)
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 12:53:35 -0700
References: <200106020554_MC3-D40C-32AE@compuserve.com>, <eBpQE736AHA.268@cpmsnbbsa07>, <Y9aS6.21979$Bn1.email@example.com>
John Steele Gordon <> wrote in message
> "MRGIFFORD" <> wrote in message
> > >However, I would be interested to know why a conversion of 1:114
> > used for the first figure, but 1:73 for the >second?
> > Dunno, but it's what I get when I use
> > http://www.eh.net/ehresources/howmuch/poundq.php
> This device might be useful for comparing money over short time
> in recent times, but it is useless for comparing money from the
> pre-industrial era to today's money.
> The reason is simple enough. Some things have greatly risen in price
> cost of a house maid, for instance) and others have greatly fallen
> (the cost of a suit of clothes). Many things are now commonplace
> then unobtainable (transatlantic telephone calls, gall bladder
> frozen dinners, etc.). Many things that were then ordinary, at least
> middle and upper classes, are now super luxuries, such as linen
> More, the price of necessities could vary tremendously from one year
> another. Wheat, for instance, might be plentiful one year with a
> harvest, and very dear the next due to bad weather. The price of
> rise suddenly by a factor of ten in those days because it was hard
> wheat in large quantities quickly. That doesn't happen any more.
> technology changes. How do you compare a horse and buggy and an
> a laundress and a washing machine, wash-and-wear clothes and
> The fact of the matter is that the economic universe of, say, 1750,
> of today, are completely different and therefore the money cannot be
> meaningfully compared with any precision. You have to compare sums
> prices of that day. With capital sums, where would the income that
> prudently earned have put a family on the social scale? With
> how does it compare with, say, a skilled workman's average annual
> This won't give you precise answers, but precise answers are,
> wrong answers. The precision is spurious.
> With characteristic modesty, I would suggest reading, "The Problem
> and Time" (American Heritage, June 1989) by John Steele Gordon. It's
> non-technical, intended for non-economists.
In other words, MRGIFFORD, he wrote the book on this subject.
|Re: Translating the Value of Money over Time (was Forbes-Smith . . .) by "Séimí mac Liam" <>|