Oh, shit

Anyhoo, apparently one reason why northwestern Europe enjoyed a higher living standard than Japan and China was because Europeans were disgusting – literally.  They walked around in – and died from – their own feces.  Clark writes (on p.105-07):

Europeans were – by modern standards and also those of preindustrial China and Japan – a filthy people, living in dirt and squalor… . The low attention paid by the English to personal hygiene was expressed in their primitive toilet arrangements.  While in Japan toilets were built at some distance from living quarters, the English upper classes seemed to prefer the convenience of adjacent toilets, even with the attendant problem of odors.  Or they dispensed with toilet arrangements altogether.  When the Globe Theater was constructed … in 1599, not one toilet was provided for the 1,500 audience members that the theater could accommodate.  Spectators, even those in the 5-pence boxes above the stage[,] did their toilet in the yard outside, or more likely in the stairways and passages of the theater itself.


–Publius, Obsidian Wings

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