Tag Archives | Black Death

How the Black Death Spawned the Minimum Wage

Black_DeathOK, this should be good … from Bloomberg:

Fast-food joints, long inhospitable to any kind of labor activism, are suddenly beset by a surge in strikes. Over the past few months, workers at chains such as McDonalds Corp. havewalked off the job in more than 60 cities, demanding a “living wage” of $15 an hour. Regardless of whether the strikes lead to better pay, they have rekindled debate over what constitutes a living wage.

That debate, however, has stranger, older and more curious origins than either proponents or detractors of the living wage might imagine.

The story begins in medieval England in the 14th century. Life, never particularly easy at this time in history, had become especially nasty, brutish and short. The preceding year, the “Great Pestilence,” better known as the Black Death, had arrived in continental Europe. The pandemic, one contemporary noted, “began in India and, raging through the whole of infidel Syria and Egypt,” reached England in 1349, “where the same mortality destroyed more than a third of the men, women and children.”

Once the dead had been buried, feudal society was shaken to its core by a startling realization.

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Plague: Oregon Man Contracts Yersinia Pestis Bacteria, Cause of the Black Death

Now those damned Ren-Fair kids have taken things too far. Writes Timothy Stenovec at the Huffington Post:
An Oregon man is in critical condition after being infected with the plague, the Oregonian reports. The man was bitten by a cat on Saturday, June 2, while trying to remove a dead mouse from the feline's mouth, according to the Crook County Department of Public Health and the Oregonian. The man checked himself into a hospital the following Friday. The Oregon Department of Public Health confirmed on Thursday that the unidentified man, who's in his 50s, has tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the same bacteria that was responsible for the pandemic that decimated Europe's population in the 14th century. The cat, which was a stray that had lived in the neighborhood for a number of years, has since died. Its body has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing...
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