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While slave labor has been the main focus of most historians who assess the performance of the Roman Empire, it is important to investigate the situation with the other classes of landowners, tenants, and the rest of the people who…
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Download file to see previous pages... rn in the chapter is whether contractual labor encouraged the use of resources in the country or whether they only served the interests of the elite in the society at the expense of the majority poor population in the country. It is very unlikely that the roman employees did not go through the Malthusian constraints and therefore the population was a very important factor in determining the welfare of the workers. Workers faced a lot of competition as the population grew until the Antonine plague which caused deaths of the workers and thus had a substantial effect on the economy of the Roman Empire.
There is evidence of farm tenancy where there were wealthy lessees of estates and used the estates for large production of materials. The rich landowners rented parts of their lands that they did not use or those parts that were hard to cover under the management. The small farmers used the land for agricultural purposes and they were to pay rent to the landowners (Schiedel 116). The agreement was mainly that they lease the land for small periods of time like five years. The responsibility of the tenant was to provide the small items for the cultivating the land while the responsibility of the rich landowner was to provide the fixed assets on the land such as storage facilities and wine presses. By the tenant paying the fixed amount of rent, he assumed the risk of the fluctuating market prices and the size of the harvest. The leasing system greatly protected the landowners against any risks that may face the lessee.
There was also the use of wage labor where the rich employed the poor to work on their farms. They were paid the minimum wage and only what was enough for them to live on. However, this was justified that they were given a place to live and they mostly cultivated the foods that they consumed in their households (Schiedel 121). Those who were employed permanently were given ages that was enough to live on while those in temporary employment earned more ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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