Darrow Miller and Friends

Life Expectancy and the Economic Effect of the Protestant Reformation … Who Knew?

Perhaps few people are aware of the powerful impact the Protest Reformation had on life expectancy in Europe.

Prior to the 16th century European Reformation, virtually the entire world was poor including all of Europe. Andrew Bernstein, adjunct professor of philosophy at Pace University, writes:

Most people forget that pre-industrial Europe was vastly poorer than contemporary Africa and had a much lower life expectancy. … In parts of France, in the middle of the 17th century, only 58% reached their 15th birthday, and life expectancy was 20. In Ireland, life expectancy in 1800 was a mere 19 years. In early 18th century London, more than 74 percent of the children died before reaching the age of five.

Then a dramatic change occurred through Europe. The population in England doubled between 1750 and 1820, with child­hood mortality dropping to 31.8 percent by 1830. something hap­pened that enabled people to stay alive.*

Life expectancy in Europe grew from the Protestant Reformation

The catalyst for this dramatic transformation in Europe was the Reformation and the new work ethic that it spawned. If it can happen in Europe, then history would seem to teach that such transformation can happen in Africa as well. – from Against All Hope: Hope for Africa by Darrow Miller with Scott Allen
*Bernstein, Andrew; Capitalism is the Cure for Africa’s Problems; www.capmag.com; 7/1/04

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