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Old February 17th, 2013, 07:40 AM   #81

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Originally Posted by Corto Maltese View Post
In the 17th century ?
Here comes the specialist.

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Well, if you measure by tax revenues, no other organization in the world controlled more tax revenues than the Mughal Empire, which collected around 4,000 tons of silver in the 17th century, compared to around 1,000 tons of silver for France and China, the other two largest states in terms of tax revenues.

However, the tax revenues of Mughal India were mostly spent maintaining the elites, which lived from the tax revenues instead of rent over the lands. So, these tax revenues were not comparable to those of European countries, which were used only for the maintenance of the state. Considering that Qing China also had a massive population to administer, implying in large costs running the country, implies that France was the world's richest country in the 17th century, which enabled them to build stuff like Versailles and make many wars all over the world.

Also, measured in terms of living standards India was very poor, nearly as poor as Japan was in the 17th century. Here is a report from an European traveler on the living standards of ordinary Indians, Francisco Pelsaert's report which sums up his seven years in Agra in 1620-7:

“ the rich in their great superfluity and absolute power, and the utter subjection and poverty of the common people - poverty so great and miserable that the life of the people can be depicted or accurately described only as the home of stark want and the dwelling place of bitter woe ... a workman's children can follow no occupation other than that of their father, nor can they intermarry with any other caste ... They know little of the taste of meat. For their monotonous daily food they have nothing but a little khichri, made of ‘green pulse’ mixed with rice, which is cooked with water over a little fire until the moisture has evaporated, and eaten hot with butter in the evening; in the day time they munch a little parched pulse or other grain, which they say suffices for their lean stomachs.

Their houses are built of mud with thatched roofs. Furniture there is little or none ... bedclothes are scanty, merely a sheet or perhaps two, serving both as under- and over-sheet; this is sufficient in the hot weather, but the bitter cold nights are miserable indeed”

So India was anything but rich in the 17th century in terms of actual development. In terms of living standards the richest country in the world from the 17th to the early 19th century was The Netherlands.

And in Ancient times western accounts of India aren't favorable as well in economic terms, written by Strabo around the 1st century BC:

"All Indians live a simple life, and especially when they are on expeditions; and neither do they enjoy useless disturbances; and on this account they behave in an orderly manner. But their greatest self-restraint pertains to theft; at any rate, Megasthenes says that when he was in the camp of Sandrocottus, although the number in camp was forty thousand, he on no day saw reports of stolen articles that were worth more than two hundred drachmae; and that too among a people who use unwritten laws only. For, he continues, they have no knowledge of written letters,and regulate every single thing from memory; but still they fare happily, because of their simplicity and their frugality; and indeed they do not drink wine, except at sacrifices, but drink a beverage which they make from rice instead of barley; and also that their food consists for the most part of rice porridge; and their simplicity is also proven in their laws and contracts, which arises from the fact that they are not litigious; for they do not have lawsuits over either pledges or deposits, or have need of witnesses or seals, but trust persons with whom they stake their interests; and further, they generally leave unguarded what they have at their homes."

The frugality, the fact that their main dish was porridge, the general lack of laws and contracts and lack of general use of written language (they may have had writing at the time of Strabo but it wasn't in general use, since Strabo wasn't aware of it), points out to a rather underdeveloped social and economic organization.

My knowledge of economic history leads me to conclude that we known with some degree of certainty that the following pre-industrial societies were able to rise substantially above the bare levels of subsistence:

1 - Classical Greece
2 - The Mediterranean during the Early Roman Empire
3 - The Italian City States during the 14th century onwards
4 - The Netherlands from the 16th century onwards
5 - England from the 18th century onwards

We should assume that all other pre-industrial societies (i.e. pre 19th century societies) were living very near bare subsistence. Further research would be required to determine otherwise. I suspect, for instance, that Song China managed to lift itself substantially above the standards of other ancient and medieval economies during the 11th and 12th centuries. But we lack very detailed data to confirm this assertion and also we lack data on the degree of development among the various regions of China, as I would expect first some regions to develop before others.

For example, Europe in the 15th century, for instance, was mostly poor but Northern Italy managed to rise above the level of poverty. The same applies to the ancient Western world: only the Aegean managed to live above poverty in the Classical period while the rest of the ancient world, such as Egypt, Italy, Syria, the interior of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Persia, lived in dire poverty.

Perhaps the only case of a pre-industrial society that managed to rise above minimum subsistence for a continental sized population was the Early Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries. At least this is the only case in which we have substantial evidence: massive volume of ruins dated from the Early Roman period, massive levels of metal pollution measured in greenland ice and massive number of shipwrecks found over the mediterranean sea:

Click the image to open in full size.

I haven't found systematic evidence of similar economic phenomena in India: only in the 18th century that global levels of metal pollution reached the Roman levels of the 1st century. And the 1st century Roman Empire had a population of 70 million, compared to 800 million for the world in 1750 AD. Indicating much higher levels of per-capita economic development than the global average in the 18th century, the housing evidence shows the same trends (Roman houses in Pompeii and Herculaneum were bigger and better build than typical houses anywhere in the world in the 18th century with the possible exception of the Netherlands).

For the sake of being rigorous, we must not assume the improbable without any evidence. The research I have relative to India shows that it was apparently slightly richer than Japan in per capita terms during the 16th and 17th centuries, but poorer than the European average and much poorer than the Netherlands.

Last edited by Guaporense; February 17th, 2013 at 07:50 AM.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 07:45 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
Here comes the specialist.

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Well, if you measure by tax revenues, no other organization in the world controlled more tax revenues than the Mughal Empire, which collected around 4,000 tons of silver in the 17th century, compared to around 1,000 tons of silver for France and China, the other two largest states in terms of tax revenues.

However, the tax revenues of Mughal India were mostly spend maintaining the elites, which lived from the tax revenues instead of rent over the lands. So, these tax revenues were not comparable to those of European countries, which were used only for the maintenance of the state. Considering that Qing China also had a massive population to administer, implying in large costs running the country, implies that France was the world's richest country in the 17th century, which enabled them to build stuff like Versailles and make many wars all over the world.

Also, measured in terms of living standards India was very poor, nearly as poor as Japan was in the 17th century. Here is a report from an European traveler on the living standards of ordinary Indians, Francisco Pelsaert's report which sums up his seven years in Agra in 1620-7:

“ the rich in their great superfluity and absolute power, and the utter subjection and poverty of the common people - poverty so great and miserable that the life of the people can be depicted or accurately described only as the home of stark want and the dwelling place of bitter woe ... a workman's children can follow no occupation other than that of their father, nor can they intermarry with any other caste ... They know little of the taste of meat. For their monotonous daily food they have nothing but a little khichri, made of ‘green pulse’ mixed with rice, which is cooked with water over a little fire until the moisture has evaporated, and eaten hot with butter in the evening; in the day time they munch a little parched pulse or other grain, which they say suffices for their lean stomachs.

Their houses are built of mud with thatched roofs. Furniture there is little or none ... bedclothes are scanty, merely a sheet or perhaps two, serving both as under- and over-sheet; this is sufficient in the hot weather, but the bitter cold nights are miserable indeed”

So India was anything but rich in the 17th century in terms of actual development. In terms of living standards the richest country in the world from the 17th to the early 19th century was The Netherlands.

And in Ancient times western accounts of India aren't favorable as well in economic terms, written by Strabo around the 1st century BC:

"All Indians live a simple life, and especially when they are on expeditions; and neither do they enjoy useless disturbances; and on this account they behave in an orderly manner. But their greatest self-restraint pertains to theft; at any rate, Megasthenes says that when he was in the camp of Sandrocottus, although the number in camp was forty thousand, he on no day saw reports of stolen articles that were worth more than two hundred drachmae; and that too among a people who use unwritten laws only. For, he continues, they have no knowledge of written letters,and regulate every single thing from memory; but still they fare happily, because of their simplicity and their frugality; and indeed they do not drink wine, except at sacrifices, but drink a beverage which they make from rice instead of barley; and also that their food consists for the most part of rice porridge; and their simplicity is also proven in their laws and contracts, which arises from the fact that they are not litigious; for they do not have lawsuits over either pledges or deposits, or have need of witnesses or seals, but trust persons with whom they stake their interests; and further, they generally leave unguarded what they have at their homes."

The frugality, the fact that their main dish was porridge, the general lack of laws and contracts and lack of general use of written language (they may have had writing at the time of Strabo but it wasn't in general use, since Strabo wasn't aware of it), points out to a rather underdeveloped social and economic organization.

My knowledge of economic history leads me to conclude that we known with some degree of certainty that the following pre-industrial societies were able to rise substantially above the bare levels of subsistence:

1 - Classical Greece
2 - The Mediterranean during the Early Roman Empire
3 - The Italian City States during the 14th century onwards
4 - The Netherlands from the 16th century onwards
5 - England from the 18th century onwards

We should assume that all other pre-industrial societies (i.e. pre 19th century societies) were living very near bare subsistence. Further research would be required to determine otherwise. I suspect, for instance, that Song China managed to lift itself substantially above the standards of other ancient and medieval economies during the 11th and 12th centuries. But we lack very detailed data to confirm this assertion and also we lack data on the degree of development among the various regions of China.

While Europe in the 15th century, for instance, was mostly poor, only Northern Italy managed to rise above the level of poverty. The same applies to the ancient Western world: only the Aegean managed to live above poverty in the Classical period while the rest of the ancient world, such as Egypt, Italy, Syria, the interior of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Persia, lived in dire poverty.

Perhaps the only case of a pre-industrial society that managed to rise above minimum subsistence for a continental sized population was the Early Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries.
This is a Chinese description of ancient India:
Fahein who is also known as Faxian was a Chinese traveller who had come to India to visit the holy Buddhist places and to collect sacred works connected with the life and the teachings of the Buddha. He came here in the beginning of the 5th century A.D. He came to India by land and returned by the sea-route. He started from China in 399 A.D. and crossed through the Gobi desert. He suffered great hardships while travelling through Khotan, Taskhand, Pamir, Swat and Gandhara before reaching Peshwar and Taxila. After visiting the holy places in the North-West of India he travelled through such places as Mathura, Kanauj, Kausambi, Pataliputra and Kasi etc. He also undertook pilgrimage to the holy places of the Buddhists like Kapilvastu, Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. On his return journey, he visited Ceylon, Java, Sumatra before he reached home in 414 A.D. In India, he stayed for about 6 years (405-411 A.D) whatever he observed and recorded here is being summed up below:
Fahein (Fahsien) has lavishly praised, the administration of the Gupta Dynasty. He says: (1) the administration was well-organized and liberal. The officials least interfered in the private affairs of the people. There was freedom of travel and they were not forced to attend to any magistrate or his rule. If they desired to go, they would go, if they liked to stop, they would stop. (2) Punishments were mild. In most cases, fines were considered sufficient. The capital punishment was never awarded. Only in case of persistent criminals their right hands were chopped off. (3) Public highways were safe from thieves and highwaymen. Fahein himself travelled widely without ever being robed. (4) taxes were low and people could easily pay them .(5) Land was the chief source of revenue which was collected both in cash and kind. (6) Government officials were paid wages in cash, which were both sufficient and promptly regular. It made them honest and they never did wrong to the people or accepted bribes.
Fahein says that the people were rich, prosperous and happy. They excelled in charity and vied with one another. People possessed high moral and were afraid of doing any sin. (4) They had built several chartable rest-houses where the wearied travelers could stay for rest. (5) They had also built charitable hospitals where the poor were given free treatment besides food and clothing. (6) People were mostly vegetarians and practiced ahimsa. Fahein writes, “Throughout the whole country, the people do not kill any living thing, nor drink any intoxicating liquor, nor wine, or eat onions. They do not keep pigs or fowls, there are not any dealings in cattle no butcher shops or distilleries in their market placers.” (7) Only the Chandalas practiced hunting and ate animals flesh. They lived outside the city bounds. They had to seek permission before entering the city lest other people should get polluted by their touch. India had a prosperous trade.Foreign trade was carried through the ports of Broach, Cambay and Sopara.
Fahein was a religious visitor and a holyman. Therefore, he gave more attention to the religious conditions of his times. He writes: (1) Buddhism flourished in the border provinces of the Punjab, Bengal and Mathura. The people followed the principle of Ahimsa and honoured the Buddhist monks. (2) Fahein nowhere observed hat Buddhism was declining. Nevertheless it is clear from his other observations that Hinduism was gaining popularity. His other observations that important Buddhist places like Gaya, Sarnath, Kapilvastu, and Kushinagar were decaying in importance sufficient to prove that gradually the religion of the Buddha was declining. (3) Though the Gupta rulers were Hindus and also built beautiful temples for the Hindu gods they observed tolerance towards other religions and treated them with equal care. Protection was offered to the Buddhist and the Jains as well. In short, the Brahmanas, the Buddhists and the Jains lived together peacefully.

Last edited by Theseus; February 17th, 2013 at 08:01 AM.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 08:03 AM   #83

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Originally Posted by redpk View Post
Coins = total Monetary aggregates,if A country is rich,that mean it's GDP is high,they need coins to support the GDP.
we say Song dynasty maybe richest dynasty of China,Song dynasty coins can proved it .So many Song dynasty coins in China,more than any other Dynasty,before or after.Song dynasty coins even were used in Japan,Korea,Vietnam .

From coins ,The 3 India states are impressed ,they are Mauryan,Kushan empire(I am not sure it's an India empire or not),Mughal dynasty.
The general use of coinage means that economic exchange tends to be more formal and developed with generally means that levels of economic development tend to be higher.

This appears to be the case of Song China. They consumed over 13,000 tons of copper per year around 1080 AD, more than the world consumed in the 18th century, and much of this copper was used to make coins which indicates a high level of economic development.

Most coins found in ancient India were Greek and Roman coins, which don't point for a well developed economy as well. Before the 16th century the only civilization that managed to produce precious metals in large quantities was the Classical West. China produced copper to make coins, mostly, and later they developed even paper money in order to satisfy the domestic demand for money without a supply of precious metals.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 08:32 AM   #84

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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
The frugality, the fact that their main dish was porridge, the general lack of laws and contracts and lack of general use of written language (they may have had writing at the time of Strabo but it wasn't in general use, since Strabo wasn't aware of it), points out to a rather underdeveloped social and economic organization.

The "arthashastra" written by the Chankya during the same time period gives the exact opposite feeling then the assumption that you made!!!!
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Old February 17th, 2013, 08:50 AM   #85

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Nope, they interchanged the first position across history. 17th century Mughal India was definitely more prosperous than China, this is true for Gupta India too.

Tang and Song China were ahead of anything in contemporary India.
Keep in mind that India was united most of the time. The only year that the Indians were ahead was 1700 when India was united.


The Tang and Song were vastly ahead of India

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 08:55 AM   #86

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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
Here comes the specialist.
At western bias
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
Well, if you measure by tax revenues, no other organization in the world controlled more tax revenues than the Mughal Empire, which collected around 4,000 tons of silver in the 17th century, compared to around 1,000 tons of silver for France and China, the other two largest states in terms of tax revenues.
Sources

Quote:
However, the tax revenues of Mughal India were mostly spent maintaining the elites, which lived from the tax revenues instead of rent over the lands. So, these tax revenues were not comparable to those of European countries, which were used only for the maintenance of the state. Considering that Qing China also had a massive population to administer, implying in large costs running the country, implies that France was the world's richest country in the 17th century, which enabled them to build stuff like Versailles and make many wars all over the world.
Like France's wealth weren't spent maintaining the elites? link The Ming had 6 times the GDP of France in 1600. Ming palaces were far more extravagant than versailles.
Quote:
Also, measured in terms of living standards India was very poor, nearly as poor as Japan was in the 17th century. Here is a report from an European traveler on the living standards of ordinary Indians, Francisco Pelsaert's report which sums up his seven years in Agra in 1620-7:
That is true.



Quote:
And in Ancient times western accounts of India aren't favorable as well in economic terms, written by Strabo around the 1st century BC:
The Mauryan and Southern India were also reported to have been the richest regions at the time.
Quote:
My knowledge of economic history leads me to conclude that we known with some degree of certainty that the following pre-industrial societies were able to rise substantially above the bare levels of subsistence:

1 - Classical Greece
2 - The Mediterranean during the Early Roman Empire
3 - The Italian City States during the 14th century onwards
4 - The Netherlands from the 16th century onwards
5 - England from the 18th century onwards
Western bias
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Old February 17th, 2013, 09:43 AM   #87

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Wow. I didn't know that the taxes were so high under the rule of Shah Jahan
but I did some research and it seems you are right. It seems that he had to increase the tax
rate to build the Taj Mahal.

No wonder Aurangzeb was pissed of on his father for wasting all that money on building a musoleum. Althaugh he himself wasted all money in his deccan campaigns.

Quote:
At least Akbar reduced the tax to 1/3. But even the tax rate under Akbar was higher than during
ancient and early medieval period. During ancient and early medieval period the taxes ranged from
1/10 to 1/6.
As far as I know Akbar directly adopted the model developed by the Sher shah suri, which was the best administrative model in medieval India. And I think the bigger problem was the corruption at the middle level, not the higher rate of taxes.
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Old February 17th, 2013, 09:59 AM   #88

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Originally Posted by emperor of seleucid View Post
Keep in mind that India was united most of the time. The only year that the Indians were ahead was 1700 when India was united.


In this case, is important to split both comparations:

1. India vs China
2. States of India vs States of China


For the most part, India has been divided for a longer time that China.

Aside of the Mughals, there were other long ages when an Indian state was clearly ahead of its Chinese contemporary:

*Nanda Kingdom: 5-4th centuries BC
*Maurya Empire: 3rd century BC
*Gupta Empire: 4-5th centuries AD
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Old February 17th, 2013, 10:07 AM   #89

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I think the condition must be different from the region to region. The Deccan and Gujarat and later on Bengal which traded exclusively with foreigners (Arabs, Chinese, Europeans) must be in much better shape. For eg almost 1/4th of Mughal income was derived from their ports in gujarat like Surat and Cambay. And the conquest of deccan was also one of the reason which made the Aurangzeb wealthiest person on earth. Vijaynagar itself was the biggest city on the earth at that time, which derived its wealth exclusively from the trade with Arabs and Europeans

On the other hand North India particularly Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarpradesh etc were constantly under the raids from Afghan border. ( one of the reason why peasents used to live in mud huts with very few belongings.) So obviously the condition must be better in southern parts than in the north India as far as the life of ordinary people is concerned
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Old February 17th, 2013, 10:09 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by Guaporense View Post
Here comes the specialist.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, if you measure by tax revenues, no other organization in the world controlled more tax revenues than the Mughal Empire, which collected around 4,000 tons of silver in the 17th century, compared to around 1,000 tons of silver for France and China, the other two largest states in terms of tax revenues.

However, the tax revenues of Mughal India were mostly spent maintaining the elites, which lived from the tax revenues instead of rent over the lands. So, these tax revenues were not comparable to those of European countries, which were used only for the maintenance of the state. Considering that Qing China also had a massive population to administer, implying in large costs running the country, implies that France was the world's richest country in the 17th century, which enabled them to build stuff like Versailles and make many wars all over the world.

Also, measured in terms of living standards India was very poor, nearly as poor as Japan was in the 17th century. Here is a report from an European traveler on the living standards of ordinary Indians, Francisco Pelsaert's report which sums up his seven years in Agra in 1620-7:

“ the rich in their great superfluity and absolute power, and the utter subjection and poverty of the common people - poverty so great and miserable that the life of the people can be depicted or accurately described only as the home of stark want and the dwelling place of bitter woe ... a workman's children can follow no occupation other than that of their father, nor can they intermarry with any other caste ... They know little of the taste of meat. For their monotonous daily food they have nothing but a little khichri, made of ‘green pulse’ mixed with rice, which is cooked with water over a little fire until the moisture has evaporated, and eaten hot with butter in the evening; in the day time they munch a little parched pulse or other grain, which they say suffices for their lean stomachs.

Their houses are built of mud with thatched roofs. Furniture there is little or none ... bedclothes are scanty, merely a sheet or perhaps two, serving both as under- and over-sheet; this is sufficient in the hot weather, but the bitter cold nights are miserable indeed”

So India was anything but rich in the 17th century in terms of actual development. In terms of living standards the richest country in the world from the 17th to the early 19th century was The Netherlands.

And in Ancient times western accounts of India aren't favorable as well in economic terms, written by Strabo around the 1st century BC:

"All Indians live a simple life, and especially when they are on expeditions; and neither do they enjoy useless disturbances; and on this account they behave in an orderly manner. But their greatest self-restraint pertains to theft; at any rate, Megasthenes says that when he was in the camp of Sandrocottus, although the number in camp was forty thousand, he on no day saw reports of stolen articles that were worth more than two hundred drachmae; and that too among a people who use unwritten laws only. For, he continues, they have no knowledge of written letters,and regulate every single thing from memory; but still they fare happily, because of their simplicity and their frugality; and indeed they do not drink wine, except at sacrifices, but drink a beverage which they make from rice instead of barley; and also that their food consists for the most part of rice porridge; and their simplicity is also proven in their laws and contracts, which arises from the fact that they are not litigious; for they do not have lawsuits over either pledges or deposits, or have need of witnesses or seals, but trust persons with whom they stake their interests; and further, they generally leave unguarded what they have at their homes."

The frugality, the fact that their main dish was porridge, the general lack of laws and contracts and lack of general use of written language (they may have had writing at the time of Strabo but it wasn't in general use, since Strabo wasn't aware of it), points out to a rather underdeveloped social and economic organization.

My knowledge of economic history leads me to conclude that we known with some degree of certainty that the following pre-industrial societies were able to rise substantially above the bare levels of subsistence:

1 - Classical Greece
2 - The Mediterranean during the Early Roman Empire
3 - The Italian City States during the 14th century onwards
4 - The Netherlands from the 16th century onwards
5 - England from the 18th century onwards

We should assume that all other pre-industrial societies (i.e. pre 19th century societies) were living very near bare subsistence. Further research would be required to determine otherwise. I suspect, for instance, that Song China managed to lift itself substantially above the standards of other ancient and medieval economies during the 11th and 12th centuries. But we lack very detailed data to confirm this assertion and also we lack data on the degree of development among the various regions of China, as I would expect first some regions to develop before others.

For example, Europe in the 15th century, for instance, was mostly poor but Northern Italy managed to rise above the level of poverty. The same applies to the ancient Western world: only the Aegean managed to live above poverty in the Classical period while the rest of the ancient world, such as Egypt, Italy, Syria, the interior of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Persia, lived in dire poverty.

Perhaps the only case of a pre-industrial society that managed to rise above minimum subsistence for a continental sized population was the Early Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries. At least this is the only case in which we have substantial evidence: massive volume of ruins dated from the Early Roman period, massive levels of metal pollution measured in greenland ice and massive number of shipwrecks found over the mediterranean sea:

Click the image to open in full size.

I haven't found systematic evidence of similar economic phenomena in India: only in the 18th century that global levels of metal pollution reached the Roman levels of the 1st century. And the 1st century Roman Empire had a population of 70 million, compared to 800 million for the world in 1750 AD. Indicating much higher levels of per-capita economic development than the global average in the 18th century, the housing evidence shows the same trends (Roman houses in Pompeii and Herculaneum were bigger and better build than typical houses anywhere in the world in the 18th century with the possible exception of the Netherlands).

For the sake of being rigorous, we must not assume the improbable without any evidence. The research I have relative to India shows that it was apparently slightly richer than Japan in per capita terms during the 16th and 17th centuries, but poorer than the European average and much poorer than the Netherlands.
Your post doesn't make much sense.
Slavery was central to the early Roman and Greek economy.
On the other hand slavery was not common in the Gupta and the Maurya Empire.
So its obvious that ancient Indian economy was more advanced than
early Roman economy.
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