Inflation, Population, & the General Crisis

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Thu Oct 26 20:25:53 MDT 2000

*****   ...Meanwhile, the stakes were raised by price inflation,
reflecting the higher demand attributable to a rise in the population
of about 25 percent between 1500 and 1600 and the inflow of silver
from the New World; the expansion of both reached a peak by 1600.
Thereafter, for a century, the population rose only slightly above
100 million and pulled back repeatedly to that figure, which seemed
to represent a natural limit.  The annual percentage rate of increase
in the amount of bullion in circulation in Europe, which had been 3.8
in 1550 and 1 in 1600, was, by 1700, 0.5.  The extent to which these
facts, with attendant phenomena -- notably the leveling out from
about 1620, and thereafter the lowering, of demand, prices, and rents
before the resumption of growth about 1720 -- influenced the course
of events must remain uncertain.  Controversy has centred around the
cluster of social, political, and religious conflicts and revolts
that coincided with the deepening of the recession toward
mid-century.  Some historians have seen there not particular crises
but a "general crisis."  Most influential in the debate have been the
Marxist view that it was a crisis of production and the liberal
political view that it was a general reaction to the concentration of
power at the centre....


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