Jane Austen's Economics

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VictoriaF
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Re: Jane Austen's Economics

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:09 pm

sometimesinvestor wrote:
black jack wrote:Google may forget, but the Internet Archive sometimes does not: a little playing around with the Internet Archives' Wayback Machine provides Mr. Barnitz's "Economic Analysis of Jane Austen" (posted 10.26.2005): https://web.archive.org/web/20061104094 ... gspot.com/
\\

The link works. Thanks so much and it makes this thread much better
It works for me, too. THANKS!

Victoria
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Barry Barnitz
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Re: Jane Austen's Economics

Post by Barry Barnitz » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:31 pm

Hi:

Thanks Black Jack. This was an early rendition of the paper, stripped of supporting notes. As I have time, I hope to revisit this work. At present I have two possible rectifications.

1. John Dashwood refers to his "stocks" having depressed value at the time of a land purchase. I am not sure whether early eighteenth century "stocks" meant an equity stock or a bond. In either case the market value of the securities is below purchase price.

2. The 300 pound gentleman's annual income and 10 to 15 annual workman's annual income come from the Angus King survey circa 1680. The Coloquoy (sic) 1803 survey gives a gentleman's annual income of 700 pounds; and an annual workman's salary of 40 pounds.

(Note: I have recovered source data for period land and house rent returns, as well as the 1803 income survey.)

I have managed to fashion a redrafted version with a google drive document ---->Jane Austen's Economics

regards,
Last edited by Barry Barnitz on Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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black jack
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Re: Jane Austen's Economics

Post by black jack » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:46 pm

Barry Barnitz wrote:Hi:

Thanks Black Jack. This was an early rendition of the paper, stripped of supporting notes. As I have time, I hope to revisit this work. At present I have two possible rectifications.

1. John Dashwood refers to his "stocks" having depressed value at the time of a land purchase. I am not sure whether early eighteenth century "stocks" meant an equity stock or a bond. In either case the market value of the securities is below purchase price.

2. The 300 pound gentleman's annual income and 10 to 15 annual workman's annual income come from the Angus King survey circa 1680. The Coloquoy (sic) 1803 survey gives a gentleman's annual income of 700 pounds; and an annual workman's salary of 40 pounds.

(Note: I have recovered source data for period land and house rent returns, as well as the 1803 income survey.)

regards,
I'm gratified to have been of help.

Thank you for writing this.
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Ktemene
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Re: Jane Austen's Economics

Post by Ktemene » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:41 pm

Victoria,

That's a good observation. There is also the consideration of what happens to women who don't marry. Jane Fairfax in Emma appears to be destined to a life as a governess in a private household, living among strangers with a tiny salary.

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Clearly_Irrational
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Re: Purchasing power parity

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:02 pm

tacitus7 wrote:Then 300 pounds times .23 ounces of gold times 690 current dollars/ounce gives us $47,610 today's dollars. Whereas $1320 dollars (1800's) divided by $20/ounce times 690 current dollars/ounce gives us $45540 today's dollars. Pretty close.
Just a minor detail, but the current spot price of gold is $1197.50 per oz. http://www.kitco.com/charts/livegold.html

lululu
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Re: Jane Austen's Economics

Post by lululu » Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:09 pm

VictoriaF wrote: At the first glance, the Austen's women's excessive focus on marriage seems pathological. But when the financial power is taken into consideration, getting a right husband is equivalent to graduating college as a valedictorian and passing LSAT or MCAT.
Victoria
Don't forget that for women of a certain class, their only alternatives were marrying, living with relatives, or working as a semi-servant governess who might be prey for the male members of the household, or worse occupations.

Although given that the husband immediately had full control over the wife's money, any woman who was financially independent was crazy to marry, imho.

As to comparing then and now, I, alas, do not have household employees doing the cleaning and cooking and taking care of my clothes :D

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Re: Jane Austen's Economics

Post by epilnk » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:39 pm

lululu wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: At the first glance, the Austen's women's excessive focus on marriage seems pathological. But when the financial power is taken into consideration, getting a right husband is equivalent to graduating college as a valedictorian and passing LSAT or MCAT.
Victoria
Don't forget that for women of a certain class, their only alternatives were marrying, living with relatives, or working as a semi-servant governess who might be prey for the male members of the household, or worse occupations.

Although given that the husband immediately had full control over the wife's money, any woman who was financially independent was crazy to marry, imho.
"Charlotte herself was tolerably composed. She had gained her point, and had time to consider of it. Her reflections were in general satisfactory. Mr. Collins to be sure was neither sensible nor agreeable, his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband. Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. This preservative she had now obtained; and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good luck of it."

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Re: Purchasing power parity

Post by William4u » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:22 am

Clearly_Irrational wrote:
tacitus7 wrote:Then 300 pounds times .23 ounces of gold times 690 current dollars/ounce gives us $47,610 today's dollars. Whereas $1320 dollars (1800's) divided by $20/ounce times 690 current dollars/ounce gives us $45540 today's dollars. Pretty close.
Just a minor detail, but the current spot price of gold is $1197.50 per oz. http://www.kitco.com/charts/livegold.html
Calculating PPP (Purchase Power Parity) between then and now is tough, and using one item of comparison can be misleading. Clothes were much, much more expensive in Austen's day, but labor of all sorts (skilled and unskilled) was much less expensive than it is today in a developed country. It depends on what you include in the comparison and how you weigh clothes vs. labor vs. gold in the comparison.

And Charlotte has a very bad set of options, and it is arguable she chose the lesser of the evils before her. Elizabeth realizes this eventually, but the book does end with Charlotte pregnant with Mr. Collin's baby (so Austen reminds us just how bad that marriage option really was).

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VictoriaF
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Re: Purchasing power parity

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:01 am

William4u wrote:And Charlotte has a very bad set of options, and it is arguable she chose the lesser of the evils before her. Elizabeth realizes this eventually, but the book does end with Charlotte pregnant with Mr. Collin's baby (so Austen reminds us just how bad that marriage option really was).
To continue with my analogy:
Earlier VictoriaF wrote:At the first glance, the Austen's women's excessive focus on marriage seems pathological. But when the financial power is taken into consideration, getting a right husband is equivalent to graduating college as a valedictorian and passing LSAT or MCAT.
Elizabeth has passed MCAT and was accepted to a medical school with all its challenges and rewards. In contrast, Charlotte got an engineering degree from a second rate school, and after some fruitless interviews, at the age of 27 she got hired by an oil company to work on an oil rig.

Victoria
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Purchasing power parity

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:19 am

William4u wrote: Calculating PPP (Purchase Power Parity) between then and now is tough, and using one item of comparison can be misleading. Clothes were much, much more expensive in Austen's day, but labor of all sorts (skilled and unskilled) was much less expensive than it is today in a developed country. It depends on what you include in the comparison and how you weigh clothes vs. labor vs. gold in the comparison.
To add to the difficulty: "labor" is not the same as "services". Almost all services use a mix of labor and capital. Increased productivity can make the service cheaper even as labor rates increase. It no longer takes a small army to keep a mansion. Some of this is due to obvious technology, such as vacuum cleaners and lawn tractors. Some of it is less direct, such as the replacement of coal fireplaces by gas central heating.

epilnk
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Re: Purchasing power parity

Post by epilnk » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:20 pm

William4u wrote:And Charlotte has a very bad set of options, and it is arguable she chose the lesser of the evils before her. Elizabeth realizes this eventually, but the book does end with Charlotte pregnant with Mr. Collin's baby (so Austen reminds us just how bad that marriage option really was).
Charlotte has a good home, her respected position in the community as the clergyman's wife, her gardens and chickens, and now her children to look forward to. Her very silly and obnoxious husband respects her judgment, accepts her guidance, and appreciates the value of a good wife. He treats her very well, which is not something a woman in Austen's time could take for granted. I don't find it hard to imagine Charlotte happy, as Elizabeth herself admits:

"Yes, indeed, his friends may well rejoice in his having met with one
of the very few sensible women who would have accepted him, or have made
him happy if they had. My friend has an excellent understanding--though
I am not certain that I consider her marrying Mr. Collins as the
wisest thing she ever did. She seems perfectly happy, however, and in a
prudential light it is certainly a very good match for her."

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