On the ratio of house price to income in Han Dynasty

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“Nine chapters of arithmetic” is a mathematics textbook compiled by people in the Han Dynasty. There is such an application question: “today, there is a guarantee. The price of one year old is 2500. Today, take 1200 first. Ask it as the daily geometry?” In our case, Xiao Ming works for others with an annual salary of 2500 yuan. Now he wants to buy a house and has no money to pay the down payment. He wants to advance 1200 yuan. How many days does Xiao Ming need to work before he can repay the 1200 yuan?

This problem is too simple, so I don’t care how to solve it. What I care about is whether the wage earner mentioned in the application question can earn 2500 yuan a year, which is in line with the actual situation at that time. In other words, in the Western Han Dynasty or the Eastern Han Dynasty, would the annual income of an ordinary wage earner be around 2500 yuan.

Statistics show that the annual salary of 2500 yuan is lower than that of the working class in the Eastern Han Dynasty, but very close to that of the working class in the Western Han Dynasty.

For example, when Dongfang Shuo, a famous person in the Western Han Dynasty, first joined the work, he received a monthly salary of 240 yuan. The monthly salary is 240 yuan, and the annual salary is naturally 2880 yuan (excluding leap months). Is that close to 2500?

The wooden slips of the Western Han Dynasty unearthed before and after the founding of the people’s Republic of China also recorded that at that time, an ordinary worker (servant) was “worth 424 a month”. The monthly salary is 424 yuan and the annual salary is 5088 yuan. Those with higher incomes can earn 2800 yuan in four months and 8400 yuan a year. An annual salary of 5088 yuan and an annual salary of 8400 yuan are two times higher than an annual salary of 2500 yuan, but they are not too outrageous. As you know, there is a greater difference in the income of wage earners nowadays. It is not uncommon for those who are incompetent to earn Rmb120000 a year and those who are capable to earn RMB12 million a year.

Look at the house price at that time.

The Juyan Han bamboo slips interpretation school contains a list of the properties of two families in Juyan County in the Western Han Dynasty. One family, Li Zhong, had a house worth 10000 yuan; A family named xuzong, whose house is worth 3000 yuan. It can be seen that even low-income people with an annual salary of only 2500 yuan can buy a house in a few years.

Juyan is a remote place at the junction of Inner Mongolia and Gansu. If you think the house prices here are not representative, we might as well take a look at the house prices in big cities.

During the Han Dynasty, Hanzhong, Shaanxi was a big city with a dense population and convenient transportation. We don’t know how high the house price was in Hanzhong during the Western Han Dynasty. We only know the situation in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. According to the inscriptions on the remnant stele of zhengzizhen’s residence collected in volume 3 of the collection of precious stones, in the Eastern Han Dynasty, there were 10000, 25000 and 70000 houses in Hanzhong City.

Compared with the annual salary of several thousand dollars, the house price in Hanzhong seems very expensive. In fact, it is not, because it is the late Eastern Han Dynasty. The currency depreciates and the money is worthless. Although the house price is high, everyone’s income is also high.

According to the records of post Han Dynasty, the lowest ranking civil servant (assistant History) can also receive 96 yuan per year, equivalent to 9600 yuan. After such an annual salary, it should not be a problem to buy a small set in a big city in twoorthree years.

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