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Thread: Sally discusses inflation

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Sally discusses inflation

    In chapter 18, Sally the servant talks about money. She says when she was a girl, eggs were thirty for a shilling and butter was sixpence a pound. Apparently there had been some inflation in the intervening 45 years or so, since about 1800. That was a surprise I thought there was basically no inflation in the C19th. She says she was paid 3 a year when a young woman, but that the going rate was now 8 a year. I assume meals and lodgings are on top of this.Sally is another one of the very devoted servants that appear all through Victorian literature. Her employers decided to increase her wages to 6 a year against her wishes. Out of that she has managed to save 30, which she intends to leave in her will to her master and mistress.

    Sally also says that when she was young, people used to eat their pudding before their meat. If only I had known about that when I was a boy. I could have told my parents it was traditional to eat your dessert before your main meal.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    The part about the pudding makes me wonder why people eat dessert at all. We normally don't end a meal with something sweet. Nor do we drink anything during the meal.

    Regarding economics it might be worth looking at Robert Prechter's ideas on this topic and those discussed by socionomists. They have a holistic approach to changes in prices.

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    Regarding economics it might be worth looking at Robert Prechter's ideas on this topic and those discussed by socionomists. They have a holistic approach to changes in prices.
    Victorian economics fascinates me. It is so difficult to compare then with now. In one book like Ruth you may read how a servant saves 30 over a working lifetime; in another you read how a spoilt young gentleman gambles ten times that much in a single night. Basically, what Sally got was pocket money. Food and lodging was provided for her. I suppose she had to buy items of clothing every now and again. There are quite a few characters like Sally in Victorian literature. They are very loyal, and mostly never marry or have children themselves. In Ruth most of the characters are quite poor. Even Sally's employers are not rich. When a young girl from the neighbourhood visits them for tea, she is told by her parents not to eat anything, because they are so poor. It's like a different planet.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    That world does not appear to have much need for money to purchase things. Much of it is subsistence living. I assume they made their own clothes and spun the cloth.

    One could still view it from the perspective of social mood but there wouldn't be much of a market to use as a metric to guide one's exploration. What the market tells us with crashes and bullish rises is that one can expect either positive or negative social mood to predominate in other aspects of life. It is like we are in a cloud of social move that constrains us.

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    One of the wealthier characters talks about buying some silk for Ruth at so much per yard for a better dress. I think they were past the stage of spinning their own cloth, but I think they may have sewn their own clothes. Ruth might have in any case because she had been a dressmaker's apprentice.

    Yes, I think economics is a social science. Emotion obviously plays a large role.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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