… is from page 25 of the 1993 Third Edition of the late Carlo Cipolla’s 1976 book, Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 1000-1700 (footnote deleted; the internal quotation is from an 1582 Italian book, Ordinationi per il buon governo di tutti li Hospitali del Contado di Perugia):
Having bought their food, the mass of people had little left for their wants, no matter how elementary they were. In preindustrial Europe, the purchase of a garment or of the cloth for a garment remained a luxury the common people could only afford a few times in their lives. One of the main preoccupations of hospital administration was to ensure that the clothes of the deceased “should not be usurped but should be given to lawful inheritors.”
DBx: How many people today with closets stuffed with clean clothing, each piece of which costs at most only a few hours of work-time, intone seriously – often with the assistance of their laptops or smartphones – that “capitalism doesn’t work” or that “capitalism enriches only the rich, while leaving the masses destitute and able to survive only by accepting work at slave-wages”? Most critics of capitalism are simply ignorant of the relevant history.