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A quick look at inequality from the Knight’s day

What history says about inequality and technology
This is a great read for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it provides a historical look at wages from my days as a Knight in medieval England. As you can see, times were much different. Craftsmen (these would be your college educated individuals today) made almost 2x as much as laborers (these would be those with only a high school diploma or less).

wage history

Over the centuries this ratio has declined to about 1.20x. More recently, however, real wages for college graduates (craftsman) have increased by over 33% in the last four decades. On the other hand, wages for those with only a high-school diploma (laborers) have decreased.

Economically this is intuitive. As we have shifted to a service economy, the value of knowledge is significantly greater than the value of unskilled work. This will likely continue for quite some. The one caveat here is that the labor market is fluid. That is, when the wages for skilled workers are too high, firms will do their best to replace these jobs (automation?).

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