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How the Black Plague Changed Europe

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Let us begin by looking at the economic changes in medieval Europe that were brought about by the Black Plague. In the 14th century Europe, Agriculture was actually the backbone of the European states. The aristocracy wealth was based on ownership of land. The death of millions of people due to the Black Plague, therefore, meant that there was an acute shortage of labour. The peasants were particularly affected by the Black Plague because of the poor conditions in which they were living. the poor conditions coupled with close quarters in which the peasants were living provided a conducive environment for the spread of the Black Plague (The Flow of History,n.p. Web.). The shortage of labour led to a drastic reduction in agricultural production. The reduction of agricultural produce was a real disaster in the economy of medieval Europe.
Apart from reduced agricultural production, the few available peasants/labourers started demanding higher wages because the demand for their services was very high (Herlihy, 8-9). This led to an increase in the cost of production of agricultural products. This, in turn, led to inflation because the aristocrats had to sell their produce at higher prices because of the high cost of production. Another factor that led to the inflation of the economy was the prohibitive trade measures that were instituted by some monarchs, these measures made procurement of goods through trade quite difficult (Zapotoczny, 2-3). This meant that there was an insufficient supply of goods in the market-leading to inflation.
The crumbling of the Agricultural sector in the 14th century Europe due to the Black Plague depleted the tax base of the European states. The medieval European states were therefore forced, as it were, by the economic constraints occasioned by the Black Plague to increase taxes. The increase in taxes exacerbated the already high inflation in medieval Europe. The Black plague, therefore, caused an economic recession in medieval Europe. The economic recession ultimately led to a complete change of economic system in Europe from Feudalism to capitalism as we shall see later in this paper.