Would you rather live in medieval England or modern day Afghanistan? Before you answer, you might want to consider that you’d likely have a better standard of living under Henry VIII than of Hamid Karzai:
New research led by economists at the University of Warwick reveals that medieval England was not only far more prosperous than previously believed, it also actually boasted an average income that would be more than double the average per capita income of the world’s poorest nations today.
The figure of $400 annually (as expressed in 1990 international dollars) is commonly is used as a measure of “bare bones subsistence” and was previously believed to be the average income in England in the middle ages.
However the University of Warwick led researchers found that English per capita incomes in the late Middle Ages were actually of the order of $1,000 (again as expressed in 1990 dollars). Even on the eve of the Black Death, which first struck in 1348/49, the researchers found per capita incomes in England of more than $800 using the same 1990 dollar measure. Their estimates for other European countries also suggest late medieval living standards well above $400.
Compare that to the average annual income of many modern countries:
Central African Republic $536
Comoro Islands $549
Guinea Bissau $617
Sierra Leone $686
Haiti at $686
Read more about the study here.
(Via: Outside the Beltway)