Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Chinese and English Prices

Brad DeLong posts a comparison of the costs in 1700 of various items in Canton China and in London, England.  Milk, lead, mutton, bread, and charcoal were more expensive in China than England, most everything else was cheaper, even much cheaper. Charcoal was 5 times more expensive; tea 25 times less expensive.  It's an interesting comparison.  I'm particularly interested in the charcoal--presumably 2000+ years of civilization meant most trees were gone. And Canton is far enough south that wheat, dairy, and sheep weren't big.  But it's also surprising that China comes out so well in the comparison.  It's a reminder that until relatively recently (1700) that country seemed to provide more people a better life than did the leading Western country.

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