By Lee Watts

The economics of the peasantry.

Remember that a peasant will produce about 4 times his income in agricultural products. It gets broken down into

25% to the lord
25% to live on
14% tithe to Church
26% to barter for trade goods
10% seed & Supplies for next season.

This is loosely based on the idea that the peasant would need to give the miller 100 lb. of grain to get 40-50 lb. of flour. Effectively, the peasant would need to hand over at least 200% of the value of agricultural products to get the object that he desires.

For example: My father paid $26 per bushel for soybean seed, but was only paid $6 per bushel at harvest time (i.e. Supply & Demand). The Farm Coop would buy the beans for $6.00 and then sell them for more to the processors, or grind them up into feed for the cows/hogs or hold them until spring and sell them as seed.

He planted 1 bushel per acre at a price of $26-$35 per bushel. At harvest, he made between 40 and 75 bushels per acres which sold for $6 per bushel. If he averaged 60 bushels per acre, then that was a profit of $320 per acre, not counting the expenses for land rent, chemicals, tractor fuel/wear. But if he held the beans until spring, that would almost double.

A low tech agricultural based economy requires 60 to 80% of the population to be farmers, and they produce 70% to 90% of the total wealth gained. It was only the invention of manufacturing/improved farming practices which freed large sections of the population and gave rise to the middle class/Guilds.