chapter  3
24 Pages

Per Capita Incomes and Real Wages

A t the end o f a century marked b y crises, including foreign wars, civil strife, plague and inflation, the total population of France in 1 7 1 5 stood below levels attained i n 1 640 and 1 690. 1 Yet i n terms of cultivable area, mineral resources, capital stock, labour force and national product, France could still be ranked as the leading economic power in Europe. 2 I t s population was nearly three times that of Britain ( 1 9 · 3 million compared to 6 ·8 million) and its commodity output might have been as much as two-and-a-half times the comparable British aggregate. 3

Crouzet's famous article found that domestic output in the two economies probably grew at comparable rates for several decades over the eighteenth century. 4 Indices of industrial and agricultural growth published by Deane and Cole for Britain and Marczewski for France suggest the growth rates shown in Table 3 . 1 ; but it should be pointed out that Toutain's figures for agricultural output in the eighteenth century are regarded with scepticism by Le Roy Ladurie and other French historians.