Prices, Food and Wages in Scotland, 1550-1780

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This 1994 book is a study of Scottish price history and a major contribution to the economic and social history of early modern and pre-industrial Britain. Using the remarkable series of 'fiars' prices for grains and other contemporary sources, Gibson and Smout focus, in particular, on the prices of grain, meal and animal products, and assess how Scots artisans and labourers could survive in an economy that could pay only very low money wages. The authors show how the Scottish people experienced fluctuations in welfare both in the longer term from generation to generation, and within a given life-cycle. The Scottish records on prices and wages are a unique historical resource, to which Gibson and Smout have applied both traditional and quantitative historical techniques. In so doing they produced a powerful contribution to the perennial debate on the standard of living of ordinary people prior to the onset of industrialization.