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Laslett: The World we have Lost: What happens in this passage?

The evidence suggests that the rich and the authorities did much to ensure that the poor had enough food to live on and that this is the main reason why famine was relatively rare in early modern England. The system sometimes broke down, so that times of hardship can be blamed on political and administrative failure as well as on economic or climatic conditions, but by and large the system worked very effectively. Moreover, we now know a lot more about this and other basic facts of our ancestors’ lives than we did when Laslett first wrote about them in 1965, though perhaps modern historians concentrate too much on times of trouble, when the system broke down, rather than on when it was working well. We have hardly begun to think through the implications of this work for our understanding of modern society as a whole.


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