Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Relative prices for the Regency and Today.

It's a right bugger very difficult to get an accurate handle on relative prices between historical times and current day. Some of this due to the differences in the quality and quantity of goods available. No amount of money would have bought Jane Austen a laptop (Not that it would have improved her work).

You can, because I did, find very detailed work done by reputable historians to give relative wages and costs through 1700. Even then it's hard to compare because the goods and services are so different.

One thing I did find while checking on coach times and costs was the price of a stage coach (the 8mph sort in 1810, that changed horses every hour) from Bristol to London. It was about 1.2.0 pounds (more or less I'm not pretending to be completely accurate here). Doesn't sound like much but remember that the median income was about 30 pounds in a year.

This means, that relatively speaking it's cheaper to fly across the US and back than it was to coach from Bristol to London. ($40,000 average US, $300-400 to get to LA). It's even relatively cheaper, if you're careful, to go from the US to the UK and back.

But then we're spending a lot of "sunk capital" in the form of fossil fuel, which might not be properly priced.