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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the economy from the demand side and examines the differences between pre-modern and modern economies from the point of view of demand. Today, in developed economies, private consumption represents 60 percent of output, and investments and public expense about 20 percent each. Since the average income was so low in the pre-modern economies, it was utilised almost entirely to satisfy primary needs and above all food requirements. Surplus, or the quota of the aggregate income exceeding basic needs, the privilege of the wealthier classes, was consumed in luxury expenditure or utilised in little productive investments such as buildings (palaces, country houses) and churches. For millennia and millennia before the birth of agriculture, our forefathers had an abundance of meat at their disposal. Over the centuries, the expenditure on durable goods modified to a much lesser degree for the poor, than for the wealthy.

Keywords: agriculture; consumption; demand; durable goods; investments; modern economies; public expense



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