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The Beginning of Welfare Housing

Count Jakob Fugger [FOO-gur] the Rich has begun construction of the first home for the elderly in Augsberg called the Fuggerei [FOO-guh-RAY]. The requirements for residence are a demonstrable need, one Rhenish guilder per year in rent (in today's money about 1 or 2 dollars) and three prayers a day for the souls of the Fuggers. The construction of this facility marks a change in attitude toward care for the poor and elderly. The Fuggerei will remain a home for the elderly into the modern day and as of 2015 it costs 0.88 euros a year rent and three prayers a day are still required. For visitors, the entrance fee is 4 euros and the guided tour is 30 euros per person. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Three prayers a day may seem like a lot of praying but it is no less than most serious Christians will pray. It could be handled by adding a prayer to one's normal morning and bedtime prayers, and adding a prayer before a meal in the afternoon. How difficult could this be? In Hebrew this is called avodah [ah-voe-DAH] which means "service." It is related to the word for "indentured servant." When you accept residence at the Fuggerei, you have taken on an obligation to serve the landlord. That is also the reason why the military is called "the service" and going to church or synagogue is called "going to services". These are all related ideas in the biblical language.

Sir Thomas More Mocks Communism But No One Gets the Joke *

Utopia is published this year in Belgium. It is a fictional account of the island kingdom of Utopia nowhere near the British Isles at all... but some place in the New World, you see. And Sir Thomas More is not advising King Henry the 8th on how to run his kingdom any better. Oh no! That would be insane! No. For the most part Utopia is promoting what we would call communism in the modern day but these beliefs go against most of what Sir Thomas More holds dear as a Catholic. Therefore Utopia must be mocking many of the solutions offered by the intellectuals of his day... and coincidentally of the modern day as well. Yet the Soviet Union will praise More for Utopia illustrating once again that intellectuals can't recognize a slam even when it hits them between the eyes. [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Frankly, the story of Utopia sounds like unabashed communist propaganda. Gold is bad. There is no private property yet each household has 2 slaves. Thus proving that in any perfect world created by intellectuals, the lessers must suffer to make good things happen for their betters. Utopia will not be published in England until several years after Sir Thomas More is beheaded for upholding his principles as a Catholic and refusing to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn because he believed King Henry the 8th was engaged in bigotry! Imagine that. [11]

Price Control and the Beer Purity Laws!

The Holy Roman Empire has instituted standards for beer purity by limiting the ingredients to water, hops and barley at the request of bakers who didn't want wheat and rye prices to rise due to competition over these ingredients. These regulations are for the commercial sale of beer and a price cap is placed at 1 to 2 pfennigs per mug. It is not clear how much a pfennig is actually worth which may explain why the cap allowed for leeway. This law was modified over the years and was finally replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law in 1993 after the Reunification of Germany.[12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The King of England once set price controls on ale during the Great Famine, but price controls never work. People will find a way around the law or stop making the item. I remember laughing when President Richard Nixon instituted price and wage controls and called for one meatless day. We shouted at the TV... "We'd like ONE MEAT DAY, PLEASE!" Ultimately, the grocery stores found ways around the price controls but the wage controls worked quite well. [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1516, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Fugger Quick Guide. Fugger.de (Official Site) (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015. “Approximately 150 needy Augsburg citizens of the Catholic faith live here for an annual base rent of €0.88 and three daily prayers. The Fuggerei with museum, display residence and World War Bunker can be visited on any day by paying an entrance fee.”
  2. Fuggerei in Augsburg. Frommer's (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015. “The basic tenants of Europe's oldest welfare housing, laid down in 1521, are still in force today. The nominal rent of 1 € per annum (formerly one Rhenish guilder) has not changed in more than 450 years (the city council determines who gets the break—it's based on need). The only obligation is that tenants pray daily for the souls of the founders.”
  3. Dates and facts: History of the Fugger family since 1367. Fugger.de (Official Site) (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015. “beginning in 1516 Construction of the Fuggerei.”
  4. Fuggerei. LonelyPlanet.com (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015. “Around 200 people live here today and their rent remains frozen at 1 Rhenish guilder (now €0.88) per year, plus utilities and three daily prayers.”
  5. Fugger - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Augsburg - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Fuggerei - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. More, Thomas. Utopia. Internet History Sourcebooks, fordham.edu, 1516.
  9. Utopia (book) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015.
  10. Thomas More in Moscow. ThomasMoreStudies.org (University of Dallas) (2010). Retrieved on 9 February 2015. “This monument, suggested by Lenin and built in 1918, lists Thomas More (ninth from the top) among the most influential thinkers 'who promoted the liberation of humankind from oppression, arbitrariness, and exploitation.' It is in Aleksndrovsky Garden near the Kremlin.”
  11. Thomas More - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015. “In 1533, More refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn as the Queen of England. Technically, this was not an act of treason, as More had written to Henry acknowledging Anne's queenship and expressing his desire for the King's happiness and the new Queen's health.[35] Despite this, his refusal to attend was widely interpreted as a snub against Anne, and Henry took action against him.”
  12. Reinheitsgebot - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015.
  13. Pfennig - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015.
  14. Richard Nixon - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 9 February 2015. “He reimposed price controls in June 1973. [...] The controls produced food shortages, as meat disappeared from grocery stores and farmers drowned chickens rather than sell them at a loss.”

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