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Average American Works More Than The Average Medieval Peasant

By  Paul Bois
DailyWire.com

We hear the propaganda often: Medieval times, the so-called “dark ages,” were miserable for peasants, the labor force exploited by greedy feudal lords.

Believe what you will about these so-called “dark ages,” just know that research from Boston College professor Juliet Schor shows that the average American works far more hours and far more days a year than the average peasant did during the middle-ages.

In Schor’s text, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, the professor demonstrates that the average leisure time for Americans remains far below that of the average leisure time for peasants during the middle-ages. Back in 1987, Americans worked on average 1,949 hours annually.

According to The Ladders, by 2015, that number dropped by just a little over a hundred: 1,811 hours annually.

Neither one even compares to the average working time of peasants: 1620 hours yearly. The Ladders provided a list from Schor’s research of working hours for various groups throughout history:

  • Casual laborer, U.K. (14th century): 1,440 hours
  • Adult male peasant, U.K. (13th century): 1,620 hours
  • Average worker, U.S. (2015): 1,811 hours
  • Manufacturing workers, U.K. (1988): 1856 hours
  • Average worker, U.S. (1987): 1,949 hours
  • Farmer-miner, adult male, U.K. (1400-1600): 1,980 hours
  • English worker (Middle Ages): 2,309 hours

Medieval peasants had more leisure time for a variety of reasons: 1.) They could not work nights, since work would have to end by sundown. 2.) The Church declared no work on various holy days, far more than the average American year.

Read more in:
  1. Economy
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