06 December 2007

Transformation of the Renaissance

A little excerpt from The 4th Economy, my manuscript in progress.

Hope got a new address during the Renaissance, moving from heaven to earth. Throughout the Dark Ages, few had any hope of progress. Children's lives were no more economically advanced than their parents. People did not live long enough to perceive economic progress. But in this new age of conquest, adventure, and trade, people no longer had to content themselves with the hope of something better in the afterlife. Suddenly, there was a prospect for riches in this life. Castilian adventurers, after 1492, had the promise of American gold; the Germans, after 1494, had the lottery. Like all economic change, this produced stress. The new economic uncertainty must have contributed to this odd novelty: by 1533, Europe had its first lunatic asylums.

1 comment:

cce said...

Why do I find this so sad? It's progress, right; having lunatic asylums where the insane get help? But I have the feeling that, in 1533, asylums were just prisons for the undesirable and the misunderstood. Not sure this has changed much but at least we couch it in terms of healing and recuperation.
Thanks for the history lesson...interesting stuff.