Income, prices and calculations (longish).
Posted by Tilde on February 13, 1998 at 07:31:40:
In response to Same old me with a few corrections!(long), written by Sherry on February 11, 1998 at 20:18:57
Just my two cents worth:
] So you could find out their 1996 yearly income by changing their 1800 $ values into 1996 values using the inflation calculator, couldn't you?
I don't think so (think being the operational word here). One would have to calculate in a completely different manner in order to get equivalents. We - as in late 20th c. western world - have far more money between our hands than they did then. I recently heard on the radio, that whereas the average middle-class family of ca. 1900 Europe had ca. 300 "posessions" (meaning furniture, house, carriage etc., not including clothes and standard household utensils like pots and pans), the average now is 3000 "posessions". This alone signals an astonishing growth in middle-class wealth. Then the possession of a carriage was a sign of wealth, now, the lack of car is a sign of poverty (or is a political statement).
A girl working as a house-maid in DK in the early 1800's would as her yearly salary recieve full board (without luxury, as like as not living in the attic) a pair of shoes and one or two set/s of clothes (depending on her status) + (if she was well paid) something like 5 dollars (max). Her private posessions could all be in one chest of drawers. If this is the standard, one could calculate backwards: What is the cost of one (or two) set/s of clothes (and we are not talking designer suits here) and a pair of shoes + food for one person for one year. This was the bulk of the salary. For this she would work 12-16 hours pr. day with one half day off pr. week (if she was lucky) and a full day every month, and she would as like as not, only get the cloth from which to make her own new clothes.
With a work-force like that at home, it would not be necessary to buy ready-mades (food, clothes etc.) to the extent it is done today, and if I could get away with hiring people at that rate, I guess I could employ 2 full-time maids in our household. Maids who would cook, shop, sew, take care of the children etc. The cost would - more or less - be equated by the household savings (no kindergarden or after-school care, which is hideously expensive; most of the family clothes would be cared for much better and would last longer; shopping could be done the least expensive places; etc.)
Another way to look at it is how many people could live in "middle-class comfort" on how much money, and then transfer it that way. A single-income middle-class family in 1953 in DK, could support a 30 hours a week employee as well as the family (2 adults 4 children), and could - with that income - still send laundry out of the house and go on a 2-3 week holiday every year. Now, 45 years later, that would take a much higher income than your average office clerk, and it is not all a question of inflation.
A middle-class family in Austen-times could live in comfort (but not in luxury) on 600 £ pr annum. How many were fed and clothed and how well ? Calculate the same cost for now. That might give the better level of equation, but one would also have to take the generally much lower standard of living into consideration.
Hope this is useful input.
- you mean your 33cents :-) Sherry 14:22:57 2/13/98 (4)
- Funds Ann 23:38:15 2/13/98 (3)
- another example... P. Bingham 23:49:29 2/16/98 (2)
- Yes,Yes Yes(sounds like organic shampoo commercial) Sherry 12:53:30 2/17/98 (1)
- By all means Caroline 19:49:42 2/20/98 (0)
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