Speenhamland system

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Speenhamland system: In February 1793, England went to war with France. The war was financed largely by inflation which, accompanied by poor crops and the Corn Laws raised food prices faster than wages, causing great suffering among workers and their families. In 1795, the magistrates of Berkshire, meeting at Speenhamland, opposing higher minimum wages, adopted a system of using tax revenues to supplement wages to provide workers' families with what they considered a subsistence income. The system spread rapidly to other counties. It resulted in higher incomes for the landed aristocracy, lower wages for workers, less incentives for low paid agricultural workers to shift to higher paying industrial jobs, higher birth rates and constantly rising taxes, until the system was replaced by the Poor Laws of 1834.[1]


  1. Percy L. Greaves, Jr. "Mises Made Easier ", 1974. Referenced 2014-08-23.