Reading a book about economics this morning, I came across this striking paragraph:
Some economic historians claim that feudalism was ended by the Black Death, a pandemic that killed up to a third of the population of Europe and Asia in the 1340s. It killed so many labourers that huge tracts of land lay deserted, the crops rotting in the fields. Once the Black Death had passed, the surviving labourers were able to demand much better conditions in exchange for their work. Following the laws of supply and demand, the supply of labourers had fallen and demand was high, so those still in the market could secure better terms. These terms included freedom of movement, the freedom to work for a master of their choice, and better remuneration.
[Source: Anne Rooney, Think like an Economist: Get to grips with money and markets. Arcturus Publishing, 2019. 74.
It struck me for two reasons. First, I hadn’t expected to run across the term “pandemic.” In fact, not expecting it here might have had something to do with why I was reading this book about economics just now, but never mind.
Second, it made me think: there will be things no one expects that in time people will realize began now, in “these times.”
I can’t help wondering what they will turn out to be. I don’t imagine I will see them. But my daughter probably will.
Whatever they are, I hope they will be for the better. If history is anything to go by, at least some of them will be.