David McWilliams: Wages will rise and profits will fall amid the Great Resignation

World of work is undergoing huge change as pandemic causes us to reassess our lives

‘One of the biggest changes ushered in by the pandemic is the increase in the numbers of people choosing to quit their jobs and reassessing work.’ Photograph: iStock

‘One of the biggest changes ushered in by the pandemic is the increase in the numbers of people choosing to quit their jobs and reassessing work.’ Photograph: iStock

One impact of the Black Death in the mid-14th century was an upsurge in the international slave trade. The collapse in Europe’s population caused by the plague led to a massive labour shortage. Slaves were the solution. Italy, being the centre of the European economy, absorbed many slaves from the Muslim regions of Spain (Ibiza was a slave trading centre), the Balkans, Constantinople, and further east. Many slaves were as young as 10 years old, either kidnapped or sold by desperate parents.

Writers at the time noted that a huge diversity of peoples ended up in metropolitan Italy, including Asiatic Tartars, Russians, Georgians, Circassians, Parthians, Greeks and Caucasians of all sorts. Florence officially encouraged mass slavery, provided the poor misfortunates were non-Christian “infidels”.

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