The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

A Silver Lining

04/06/2020

At last count, there are 165 economic reports and countless financial reports issued each month.  We have a great deal of analytical data.  When the bubonic plague swept across England in the 1340’s, they did have any data for us to study.  Fortunately, there are numerous anecdotal reports.

This particular wave of the pandemic killed 30% of the population but 40% of the working age men.  With such a sudden drop in the work force, the landed gentry and other employers began luring new workers with increased earnings.  It spurred the growth of guilds and other worker protections.  Worker empowerment!  It wasn’t a monumental shift, but it started a pronounced shift.

Also, during that period of history, women frequently died in childbirth, and it was not uncommon for a man to have outlived three or even four wives during his lifetime.  With the pandemic killing more men than women. wives found themselves widowed at younger ages and in control of estates.  Female empowerment!  Again, it wasn’t a monumental shirt, but it started a pronounced shift.

How will this pandemic impact social change in our society?

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