The natural state of humanity is poverty, not abundance. Poor, nasty brutish and short was the way of life for nearly until 250 years ago, especially poor. Here was life in the early 1700s, for example:
- Every item of clothing was made by hand to fit the consumer. Suits made like this today costs around $4,000. Consider affording that on subsistence wages.
- In France, it was common for poor laborers to not wear shoes.
- With low economies to scale and expensive transportation costs, everything but the priciest of materials was expensive to ship. Spices, whale byproducts and tobacco were among these items.
- Interest rates were 30-60%.