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Author Topic: Why a medieval peasant got more vacation time than you  (Read 157 times)
Hydrogen
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March 23, 2018, 06:49:28 PM
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Life for the medieval peasant was certainly no picnic. His life was shadowed by fear of famine, disease and bursts of warfare. His diet and personal hygiene left much to be desired. But despite his reputation as a miserable wretch, you might envy him one thing: his vacations.

Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off. The Church, mindful of how to keep a population from rebelling, enforced frequent mandatory holidays. Weddings, wakes and births might mean a week off quaffing ale to celebrate, and when wandering jugglers or sporting events came to town, the peasant expected time off for entertainment. There were labor-free Sundays, and when the plowing and harvesting seasons were over, the peasant got time to rest, too. In fact, economist Juliet Shor found that during periods of particularly high wages, such as 14th-century England, peasants might put in no more than 150 days a year.

As for the modern American worker? After a year on the job, she gets an average of eight vacation days annually.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way: John Maynard Keynes, one of the founders of modern economics, made a famous prediction that by 2030, advanced societies would be wealthy enough that leisure time, rather than work, would characterize national lifestyles. So far, that forecast is not looking good.

What happened? Some cite the victory of the modern eight-hour a day, 40-hour workweek over the punishing 70 or 80 hours a 19th century worker spent toiling as proof that we’re moving in the right direction. But Americans have long since kissed the 40-hour workweek goodbye, and Shor’s examination of work patterns reveals that the 19th century was an aberration in the history of human labor. When workers fought for the eight-hour workday, they weren’t trying to get something radical and new, but rather to restore what their ancestors had enjoyed before industrial capitalists and the electric lightbulb came on the scene. Go back 200, 300 or 400 years and you find that most people did not work very long hours at all. In addition to relaxing during long holidays, the medieval peasant took his sweet time eating meals, and the day often included time for an afternoon snooze. “The tempo of life was slow, even leisurely; the pace of work relaxed,” notes Shor. “Our ancestors may not have been rich, but they had an abundance of leisure.”

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and the U.S. is the only advanced country with no national vacation policy whatsoever
. Many American workers must keep on working through public holidays, and vacation days often go unused. Even when we finally carve out a holiday, many of us answer emails and “check in” whether we’re camping with the kids or trying to kick back on the beach.

Some blame the American worker for not taking what is her due. But in a period of consistently high unemployment, job insecurity and weak labor unions, employees may feel no choice but to accept the conditions set by the culture and the individual employer. In a world of “at will” employment, where the work contract can be terminated at any time, it’s not easy to raise objections.

It’s true that the New Deal brought back some of the conditions that farm workers and artisans from the Middle Ages took for granted, but since the 1980s things have gone steadily downhill. With secure long-term employment slipping away, people jump from job to job, so seniority no longer offers the benefits of additional days off. The rising trend of hourly and part-time work, stoked by the Great Recession, means that for many, the idea of a guaranteed vacation is a dim memory.

Ironically, this cult of endless toil doesn’t really help the bottom line. Study after study shows that overworking reduces productivity. On the other hand, performance increases after a vacation, and workers come back with restored energy and focus. The longer the vacation, the more relaxed and energized people feel upon returning to the office.

Economic crises give austerity-minded politicians excuses to talk of decreasing time off, increasing the retirement age and cutting into social insurance programs and safety nets that were supposed to allow us a fate better than working until we drop. In Europe, where workers average 25 to 30 days off per year, politicians like French President Francois Hollande and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras are sending signals that the culture of longer vacations is coming to an end. But the belief that shorter vacations bring economic gains doesn’t appear to add up. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) the Greeks, who face a horrible economy, work more hours than any other Europeans. In Germany, an economic powerhouse, workers rank second to last in number of hours worked. Despite more time off, German workers are the eighth most productive in Europe, while the long-toiling Greeks rank 24 out of 25 in productivity.

Beyond burnout, vanishing vacations make our relationships with families and friends suffer. Our health is deteriorating: depression and higher risk of death are among the outcomes for our no-vacation nation. Some forward-thinking people have tried to reverse this trend, like progressive economist Robert Reich, who has argued in favor of a mandatory three weeks off for all American workers. Congressman Alan Grayson proposed the Paid Vacation Act of 2009, but alas, the bill didn’t even make it to the floor of Congress.

Speaking of Congress, its members seem to be the only people in America getting as much down time as the medieval peasant. They get 239 days off this year.

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/08/29/why-a-medieval-peasant-got-more-vacation-time-than-you/

...

Tried to bold the best parts but tbh the entire thing is good and worth reading.  Smiley Yet another extremely neglected topic to debate and discuss. We know that productivity per worker is at all time highs due to technological advances in many industries. Yet, it appears the average working day is increasing in a way that is historically unnatural and unhealthy. What can we do to address these issues faced by society and civilization as a whole?

Also is it hilarious that united states congress members have 239 days off in some years? Would be interested to know what everyones thoughts on this are. Do people work too much? Should wages be higher? Should rent, food and living expenses be lower? Can fiat currencies and their diminishing value be held accountable to some degree? This is a topic which could seriously use some discussion.

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March 24, 2018, 02:59:06 PM
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Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off. The Church, mindful of how to keep a population from rebelling, enforced frequent mandatory holidays. Weddings, wakes and births might mean a week off quaffing ale to celebrate, and when wandering jugglers or sporting events came to town, the peasant expected time off for entertainment. There were labor-free Sundays, and when the plowing and harvesting seasons were over, the peasant got time to rest, too. In fact, economist Juliet Shor found that during periods of particularly high wages, such as 14th-century England, peasants might put in no more than 150 days a year.


 Grin Grin Grin

Well, I'm pretty sure that this entire list of revolts, which have ended with millions killed :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_peasant_revolts
were probably caused by dental care missing from their contracts.

First you should mention that the so called economist Juliet Shor is a nutcase who is one step away from telling people to  share condoms in order to save the planet from consumerism, or people might really start to believe her.
That women has never set foot in farm and she probably believes taking care of animals is done by swiping your app three times and everything gets done.

I would challenge her take a hot bath in the medieval way but probably she will die of exhaustion before she even gets the fire done.

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March 24, 2018, 10:36:31 PM
 #3

First you should mention that the so called economist Juliet Shor is a nutcase who is one step away from telling people to  share condoms in order to save the planet from consumerism, or people might really start to believe her.
That women has never set foot in farm and she probably believes taking care of animals is done by swiping your app three times and everything gets done.

I would challenge her take a hot bath in the medieval way but probably she will die of exhaustion before she even gets the fire done.

Whether Juliet Shor is a nutcase or not, I cannot say.   Undecided

She is correct about peasants enjoying 150-189 days off during the medieval era, however.

That's something I would be interested in discussing. If we truly are making progress, how is it that peasants who lived hundreds of years ago had more free time than we do today? Also does the trend towards people having less time off mean that we will have even less vacation time in the future than we do now?

There could be some cause for concern here, as well as a dire need for better information and resources on the topic. Clearly there is something strange occurring. What is it? What do we do about it? How do we fix this mess?


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March 25, 2018, 11:06:00 AM
 #4

She is correct about peasants enjoying 150-189 days off during the medieval era, however.

That's something I would be interested in discussing. If we truly are making progress, how is it that peasants who lived hundreds of years ago had more free time than we do today?


No she is not, that's the first thing.

Second, it's not nice to compare working hours in this society with that period.

Let's do a bit of comparison for the entire day.
You wake up, go take a shower, gab something from the fridge wash, dress up, get on a bus or a car and you're at work.
In medieval times if you want to drink your tea alone you had to go get water,grab the wood, light the fire and wait a lot. Right now you press a button after you're done at the toilet...want me to get into details?
How about commuting? Since there was no car,bus,train,flying car when you went to work you were doing two hours on foot , when you went to get bread you went again for hours, imagine drinking late and your home is 6 km away and there are no taxis just a few wolfs at that hour.

They were working less for their noble, king, whatever because they didn't have more time to spare.
There was nothing left to take from them, their so called free time was so they could at least take a bit care of their own houses and family. There were no holidays, there are no holidays when you have animals that wake up at 5 am and need to fed and cleaned every each damn day.

Do you think free and happy people would rebel (I did my homework, there were 26 rebellion large and small in our country during the medieval age) because they were working only 4 hours a day ?

For god sake, this new wave of economists are trying to re-write history.
 

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March 25, 2018, 12:35:03 PM
 #5

Well, the other curious fact that the quality of live before the industrial revolution also has been changing very slowly, I would even say slow AF. The average peasant in the 15th sentury had almost the same quality of life as had the same average peasant at the times of pharaons. Everything changed only after the industrial revolution.
Another fact is that before the industrial revolution people were constantly getting into the malthusian trap when the population has been growing faster then food production. Maybe for some reason the big amount of "free time" played an important role there (maybe peasants simply had a very few amount of land). I don't think that people were so lazy that they decided to starve to death instead of working some more days.

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March 25, 2018, 01:41:11 PM
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I'm doubtfull if they had so much vacation or leisure time. Sure if you are agrarial and its winter you can't do much on the land but many of these people also had second jobs that could be done during the winter and a lot of them did as money was scarce and these peasants we're under the rule of a landlord that litterly owned them. So what do they base vacation time or leisure on in the first place? Era's are also very different. I find it interesting but I'd need more background on what they base this stuff on.

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March 25, 2018, 02:50:29 PM
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Wasn't there very few industries then? There was less demand for services and goods too, along with a smaller population, so it only follows that there's not much work to be done. Our world is increasingly becoming fast paced, so it's just another consequence.

I don't think fiat and its diminishing value plays a major part. There's an abundance of workers, so they all have to be competitive. That is, for the most part, how companies are able to make them work longer hours for less pay. Deflation would probably be a welcome source of income, but I doubt it's as black and white as that.

For god sake, this new wave of economists are trying to re-write history.

Lmao people are going to be miserable no matter how many off days they get anyway, medieval peasants being prime example. The problem with her write up is that she's equating downtime with happiness. Then again, if she says that medieval peasants got 150 off days and revolted anyway while saying we should get more off days again, it wouldn't be a very compelling read.

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March 25, 2018, 03:39:15 PM
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Thanks for giving a nice read. Seems these bill makers are the only ones who got the benefit. Imagine almost 8 months of vacation, quite unfair for being a public servant.

There are so many changes happened since medieval times. We learned many things, we discovered more ways to a better life. But all of that came with a price of having more time spent on working. But it seems having exposed to excessive repetitive work gives us stress and make us less productive. I think working hours should have categories, depends on what kind of work that is. Give less time to a work that gives a lot of stress and long time on the opposite. Also put some small breaks every hour or two, we already tried this and the results were better than working with only one long break. Sometimes it is not in how long we had worked, but it is how great we worked.

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March 25, 2018, 04:17:24 PM
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While that may be true, think about the lifestyle choices they had at the time? All you could do were simple things like eat, walk, fuck, sleep, and hangout. There was no amusement parks, movies theatres, or really any other form of entertainment. I agree that policy needs to be adapted and I commend people Alan Grayson for standing up for that. If we had a 150 days off though, our problem wouldn't be too much time. It would be that we likely won't enough vacation money to make it through Cheesy.

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March 25, 2018, 11:34:48 PM
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For god sake, this new wave of economists are trying to re-write history.

....

Let me share an excerpt from a book published in 1967 with you to show what she is saying is not a new perspective.  Smiley  Bolded the part which applies to this convo.

Quote
As early as 1066, when William the Conqueror seized England, there were 8,000 watermills, serving less than one million people. At the very modest estimate of 2.5 horsepower per mill, this was twice the energy that was available through the assemblage of the 100,000 men who built the Great Pyramid, and probably more than twenty times in relation to the population of their respective countries.

Even in backward mining communities, as late as the sixteenth century more than half the recorded days were holidays; while for Europe as a whole, the total number of holidays, including Sunday, came to 189, a number even greater than those enjoyed by Imperial Rome. The idea that there should be no limits upon any human function is absurd: all life exists within very narrow limits of temperature, air, water or food; and the notion that money alone, or power to command the services of other men, should be free of such definite limits is an aberration of mind.

Where capitalism prospered, it established three main canons for successful economic enterprise: the calculation of quantity, the observation and the regimentation of time (‘Time is Money’), and the concentration on abstract pecuniary awards. Its ultimate values – Power, Profit, Prestige – derive from these sources and all of them can be traced back, under the flimsiest of disguises, to the Pyramid Age.

John Stuart Mill – ‘Principles of Economies’: it is doubtful if all the machinery then available had yet lightened the day’s labor of a single being. Within a century or two, the ideological fabric that supported the ancient megamachine had been reconstructed on a new and improved model. Power, speed, motion, standardization, mass production, quantification, regimentation, precision, uniformity, astronomical regularity, control, above all control – these became the passwords of modern society in the new Western style

TECHNICS AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, Lewis Mumford, 1967

https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Machine-Technics-Human-Development/dp/0151639736

I first heard about these claims of medieval europeans enjoying 189 days off per year around 5 years ago. I've researched it. As far as I can determine the claim is 100% accurate. Also I would like to say that Lewis Mumford is a genius. Quite possibly one of the few economists to be honest about their work and independently unbiased when it comes to framing arguments and perspectives. Also somewhat strange that his books appear unavailable in digital format.

Do you think free and happy people would rebel (I did my homework, there were 26 rebellion large and small in our country during the medieval age) because they were working only 4 hours a day ?

I think rebellions in those eras had little to do with standard of living or happiness.

People and communities in those eras were far more independent, coordinated and organized than we are today. They weren't as reliant upon governments or states for protection, welfare, wages and otherwise: modern social programs. They had fewer distractions in terms of sports, video games, music, television. They may have been better informed of current events and politics. They had few other things to focus on or distract them.

Today the US military is around 1 million in size. The population of the united states via contrast is more than 300 million. If the population of the USA ever decided to revolt they would have a 300 to 1 advantage in numbers. The main obstacle to an uprising or rebellion isn't measured in happiness or contentment. It may be fair to say its measured moreso in distraction and lack of information. People are too busy playing video games, watching sports, obsessing over celebrities and watching tv to be bothered with such things.

Those who lived during the medieval period didn't have those distractions and were more focused upon pragmatic and worldly affairs, which made it far easier for them to revolt or rebel. They didn't have much else to do for distraction or entertainment. There also wasn't a great technology advantage enjoyed by kings or royalty in past eras. There were no stealth bombers, tanks, guided missiles and similar implements of war.

In today's modern world, dictators and despots often force the populace to conform to their standards.

In some past eras, it was the opposite. The king was expected to throw huge parties and banquets for commoners. If the king failed in his duty he might be murdered. The king or whatever form of leadership often existed at the mercy of the people, rather than the opposite as we see so often today.

That's my breakdown on the topic. Feel free to agree/disagree. Though if you disagree I would be interested to hear why.   Smiley

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March 25, 2018, 11:50:57 PM
 #11

is there much point in comparing the USA to general history?

i've spent a fair bit of time there. in many ways there isn't another society like it on the planet. there's a sickness at the heart of how it chooses to be run and things operate there in a way that would be considered totally beyond the pale in any other developed country.

it's a unique case. it's great to visit. there's no way in hell i would ever put up with living there.

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March 26, 2018, 12:51:56 PM
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 #12


I first heard about these claims of medieval europeans enjoying 189 days off per year around 5 years ago. I've researched it. As far as I can determine the claim is 100% accurate. Also I would like to say that Lewis Mumford is a genius. Quite possibly one of the few economists to be honest about their work and independently unbiased when it comes to framing arguments and perspectives. Also somewhat strange that his books appear unavailable in digital format.

Your problem is that you don't understand what a holiday means.
I've lived in a communist country while I was young, everything was rationalized so the only hope of actually eating your fill was to help my grandparents in the country side.
Medieval way ... no running water, no tv (loool), no gas , no roads , only the main road to the village was made out of concrete blocks full of potholes, and electricity when you won the lotto.

There was no holiday!!! Nothing!
Chickens, cows, sheep, they don't give a damn if it's new years eve, Christmas (the pigs do) , Sunday or Monday.
There is no holiday as taking your family and we all go this weekend somewhere, no such thing.
You chop wood all the time, you carry water all the time, you dig dirt all the time....for god sake, by 2 pm I was not able to hold a fork in my hand without shaking.



I think rebellions in those eras had little to do with standard of living or happiness.

People and communities in those eras were far more independent, coordinated and organized than we are today. They weren't as reliant upon governments or states for protection, welfare, wages and otherwise: modern social programs. They had fewer distractions in terms of sports, video games, music, television. They may have been better informed of current events and politics. They had few other things to focus on or distract them.

Today the US military is around 1 million in size. The population of the united states via contrast is more than 300 million. If the population of the USA ever decided to revolt they would have a 300 to 1 advantage in numbers. The main obstacle to an uprising or rebellion isn't measured in happiness or contentment. It may be fair to say its measured moreso in distraction and lack of information. People are too busy playing video games, watching sports, obsessing over celebrities and watching tv to be bothered with such things.

Those who lived during the medieval period didn't have those distractions and were more focused upon pragmatic and worldly affairs, which made it far easier for them to revolt or rebel. They didn't have much else to do for distraction or entertainment. There also wasn't a great technology advantage enjoyed by kings or royalty in past eras. There were no stealth bombers, tanks, guided missiles and similar implements of war.

In today's modern world, dictators and despots often force the populace to conform to their standards.

In some past eras, it was the opposite. The king was expected to throw huge parties and banquets for commoners. If the king failed in his duty he might be murdered. The king or whatever form of leadership often existed at the mercy of the people, rather than the opposite as we see so often today.

That's my breakdown on the topic. Feel free to agree/disagree. Though if you disagree I would be interested to hear

Let's not start with the conspiracies ok, about he evilz US and stuff like that.
You know we have different opinion on this and it's no point going there.

Let's talk about medieval times and work in that period, that's why I've posted here.

First , rebellions had everything to do with happiness.
And further more one of the greatest in my country (although the region is not anymore part of it) happened exactly because of this trick you call free days and holidays.

The peasants were indeed free , but only on paper. In reality they had to pay taxes that didn't care about how much they worked for the landlord. You could have 200 days off, but the problem was that you had to work your ass over to pay it otherwise you would end without land.
And this is exactly what happened here in the 17 century.
The crops where bad, they had to work for the landlord and they had too little time for theirs they ended with no food, had to take loans and in just ten years the peasants lost nearly 70% of their entire lands. Which led to a rebellion and a few tens of thousands dead in the battles and a few more in prisons or in other ..very creepy.. ways.

Also..about the red part....please!!!
Peasants where interested in world affairs? Are your serious?
The percent of literate people in the western world reached 10% in 1800 and you claim they were talking politics?
Was this a trick question to see if I read your entire reply or what?
Please don't tell me you actually believe this...



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March 26, 2018, 01:15:52 PM
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The peasants were indeed free , but only on paper. In reality they had to pay taxes that didn't care about how much they worked for the landlord. You could have 200 days off, but the problem was that you had to work your ass over to pay it otherwise you would end without land.
And this is exactly what happened here in the 17 century.
The crops where bad, they had to work for the landlord and they had too little time for theirs they ended with no food, had to take loans and in just ten years the peasants lost nearly 70% of their entire lands. Which led to a rebellion and a few tens of thousands dead in the battles and a few more in prisons or in other ..very creepy.. ways.
Somehow it is similar to the world today as we are obliged to pay tax to the government as an obligation to the country and at the same time they pay taxes to their landlord for them to be protected(at least that's how it works during the medieval era in some instances.
Peasants where interested in world affairs? Are your serious?
The percent of literate people in the western world reached 10% in 1800 and you claim they were talking politics?
As you said they weren't interested in the least at all, it's just that some acts based on emotions and stocked up anger against their leaders(kings, landlords) and they don't like how they lead their citizen. That is also the same reason why there are some terrorists today.

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March 29, 2018, 05:09:27 AM
 #14

Very much I doubt that the medieval peasants rested for six months. The peasant has many other jobs besides plowing and harvesting. In addition, many engaged in external additional work in the winter.

"The whole life of the peasants was in constant labor and cares. Day after day, from year to year the peasant worked from morning till late at night. Most of the time and effort took away from him the plowing of his and the land of the land. After plowing followed by sowing, and for sowing - harvest. The harvest was made by hand using a sickle. The ears were tied into bundles and threshed with chains in order to extract the grain. After that, it was still necessary to check and separate the seeds from the chaff."

No less labor had to be spent on the processing of agricultural products in bread, butter, cheese, sausage, for the preparation of products for the winter.
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March 29, 2018, 10:17:35 PM
 #15

Your problem is that you don't understand what a holiday means.
I've lived in a communist country while I was young, everything was rationalized so the only hope of actually eating your fill was to help my grandparents in the country side.
Medieval way ... no running water, no tv (loool), no gas , no roads , only the main road to the village was made out of concrete blocks full of potholes, and electricity when you won the lotto.

There was no holiday!!! Nothing!
Chickens, cows, sheep, they don't give a damn if it's new years eve, Christmas (the pigs do) , Sunday or Monday.
There is no holiday as taking your family and we all go this weekend somewhere, no such thing.
You chop wood all the time, you carry water all the time, you dig dirt all the time....for god sake, by 2 pm I was not able to hold a fork in my hand without shaking.

I don't think you can compare communism to the medieval era. Communism outlaws free enterprise and free markets which greatly decreases standards of living. We see this in venezuela where socialists waging war against capitalism and the private sector have destroyed the economy, killed jobs and driven their entire country to ruin.

Many other things were structured differently during the medieval period. Here's a brief list.

#1 Settlements were geographically located nearer to water supply. In the large majority of cases homesteads were built on wells which provided fresh water.
#2 Population density was vastly lower, making it easier to obtain resources, graze livestock and practice subsistence farming.
#3 Livestock such as horses for transportation and plowing were more widely available and affordable.
#4 The average size of land and space people had to themselves was far larger.

There are many circumstances which contribute towards farming being easier and much more convenient in that era, than it is today in a communist bloc.

Not only may medieval peasants have had more days off, they might also have had more available time to enjoy their holidays.

First , rebellions had everything to do with happiness.
And further more one of the greatest in my country (although the region is not anymore part of it) happened exactly because of this trick you call free days and holidays.

The peasants were indeed free , but only on paper. In reality they had to pay taxes that didn't care about how much they worked for the landlord. You could have 200 days off, but the problem was that you had to work your ass over to pay it otherwise you would end without land.
And this is exactly what happened here in the 17 century.
The crops where bad, they had to work for the landlord and they had too little time for theirs they ended with no food, had to take loans and in just ten years the peasants lost nearly 70% of their entire lands. Which led to a rebellion and a few tens of thousands dead in the battles and a few more in prisons or in other ..very creepy.. ways.

Also..about the red part....please!!!
Peasants where interested in world affairs? Are your serious?
The percent of literate people in the western world reached 10% in 1800 and you claim they were talking politics?
Was this a trick question to see if I read your entire reply or what?
Please don't tell me you actually believe this...

You made some good points, here. I'll merit you +1 for that.

#1 Literature and literacy rates. Compare books and plays written in past eras to the content available today. Compare Shakespeare to Michael Bay's movies. Are literacy rates really improving? There is a movement in the world to pretend people in past eras were fools. Yet looking at their level of literacy in terms of the books they read, were of a far higher quality than content created in the current era.

#2 Specialized skillsets and labor. Skillsets and labor were likely more specialized in previous eras, which could coincide with higher levels of education to a finite degree. The movement towards replacing specialized labor with unspecialized labor could be a reason for stagnant wages, etc.

#3 Taxes. In the united states, income taxes were 1% in the year 1913. Today taxes are much closer to 50%. Its confusing how people act as if peasants in previous eras were being taxed mercilessly to death, when tax rates in the present are likely far higher and more insidious.

#4 Rebellions in your country. There appears to be some confusion here in terms of pre industrial and post industrial eras. Medieval era is pre industrial and that makes a bit of a difference.

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March 31, 2018, 01:19:14 PM
 #16

Ok, I'll quote just the points I'm going to adress, the post is getting too damn long

#1 Settlements were geographically located nearer to water supply. In the large majority of cases homesteads were built on wells which provided fresh water.
#2 Population density was vastly lower, making it easier to obtain resources, graze livestock and practice subsistence farming.
#3 Livestock such as horses for transportation and plowing were more widely available and affordable.
#4 The average size of land and space people had to themselves was far larger.

1) Agree but, this does't make things easier, pumping water from wells with no mechanic pump is insane
2) Agree again, but..."subsistence"...you're not raising the bar, you're doing the opposite
3) No they weren't, horses were not affordable and plows along with all tools were a lot more inefficient
4) Again the land might be larger as surface but production per ha was way lower

#1 Literature and literacy rates. Compare books and plays written in past eras to the content available today. Compare Shakespeare to Michael Bay's movies. Are literacy rates really improving? There is a movement in the world to pretend people in past eras were fools. Yet looking at their level of literacy in terms of the books they read, were of a far higher quality than content created in the current era.

#2 Specialized skillsets and labor. Skillsets and labor were likely more specialized in previous eras, which could coincide with higher levels of education to a finite degree. The movement towards replacing specialized labor with unspecialized labor could be a reason for stagnant wages, etc.

#3 Taxes. In the united states, income taxes were 1% in the year 1913. Today taxes are much closer to 50%. Its confusing how people act as if peasants in previous eras were being taxed mercilessly to death, when tax rates in the present are likely far higher and more insidious.

#4 Rebellions in your country. There appears to be some confusion here in terms of pre industrial and post industrial eras. Medieval era is pre industrial and that makes a bit of a difference.

1) You compare illiteracy rates with the quality of authors? What's the point?
2) There was no such thing of education in medieval times for peasants. There were no schools they could afford.
3) And what did you get in return for your taxes in medieval times?
Welfare, schools, roads, healthcare? How much was the average pension? 0 or 0?
4) Even if you refer to medieval times as 5th-15th century, it was still full or peasant rebellions.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peasant_revolt_in_Flanders_1323%E2%80%9328
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peasants%27_Revolt
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquerie
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harelle
Search for the keyword TAXES and you're going to have a surprise!!!!


Later edit:
In tone with darkangel11 said, I think we went a bit overboard and from a simple comparison we got to literature and other things that have little in common with economy and even less with bitcoin....so we should take a break I think  Embarrassed

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March 31, 2018, 02:24:35 PM
 #17

You went from comparing the number of holidays to comparing taxes, healthcare and all other things in the middle ages. It's obvious that at that time almost every single thing was worse than it is now, including free time, even the number of personal freedoms was almost non existent. To give a few examples:
-women were treated like slaves and had almost no rights, close to how they are still being treated in some Muslim societies
-you couldn't be an atheist, they'd immediately call that a blasphemy and beat the shit out of you
-most punishments were severe (you didn't pay taxes? they'd publicly beat you up and throw in the dungeon, where your wounds would get infected and kill you)
I'm not even going to start with "the right of the lord". Most of you might be familiar with the term.
As far as the taxes go, I think they were more just back then. What was being done with them is a completely different thing, but there was no income tax, which IMO is the most unjust tax ever to be created. That said, I doubt anyone here would like to become a 15th century farmer, even for a year.

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March 31, 2018, 02:46:55 PM
 #18

Well that is on the past, but as our economic progress, many things started to change like number of working hours, salary computation, leave and absences deduction, job laws and regulations and many more, as of today time management now is very important, you have to balance work, with family and insert vacations as you go, unlike before they more time to relax since if their barn is full for six months then they can just take it easy, today  even your fridge is full for the month you need to work and work for your need on the coming months because you dont know what will happen, beacuse you know, our wants also overwhelming sometine are needs and our mistakes lead us to work more...

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April 16, 2018, 11:20:21 AM
 #19

you are funny. Do you want the life of the medieval farmer? They have a lot of time off work, but they are poor and suffer from oppression and exploitation. Rather, they want to work more, but not enough production material and effort to be able to work. The produce they produce is exploited by the exploitative class. Today's material needs are much higher than in the Middle Ages. There should be no such misleading comparison.
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April 16, 2018, 10:30:21 PM
 #20

I am not an US citizen so this might not be super accurat:
I work freelance, so I have worked for 48 straight at the same desk to make a deadline, sometime bank holiday mean more money - sometimes they mean you struggle to get jobs, paid working days is a concept I do not know, sometimes I work in the middle of the night without pants on and you always pitch your next gig.
So yeah technically I have never off, am I worse of than a medieval field worker? I do not think so.

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