Cash, Wages, and the Economy of Makeshifts in England, 1650–1800

  • Craig MuldrewEmail author
  • Steven King
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


This chapter, which was originally published in 2003, was one of the first attempts to contextualise wages by examining how they might actually have been measured and paid. The issue of liquidity had a tremendous effect on the way exchange was structured in England. During the period under discussion here, the number of gold, silver, or copper coins in circulation was limited and never enough to fully pay the value of cash wages from week to week. As a result, the form and meaning of the wage was affected by the structure of credit networks and the illiquidity of monetary exchange within the economy. Within this context the chapter also examines the degree to which wages were embedded within households, poor relief, and the economy of makeshifts through multiple small sources of income.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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