Doug Rushkoff writes:
First off the Dark Ages were not dark. The Late Middle Ages, in particular were extremely prosperous. Population and wealth went up, work hours went down. Height and health went up, death and taxes went down. This is when the cathedrals were built, with local profits generated by local economies.
The notion of a “dark ages” is really Renaissance disinformation. It’s an effort to make Renaissance innovations to banking, manufacturing, and corporate law look like modernity instead of the extraction of wealth by the few. It was only after the invention of monopoly centralized currency that the economy in Europe began to tank, common lands were fenced in, farming and grazing became impossible for peasants, sustainable land became speculative property, food supplies diminished, jobs required going to workshops in the city, health deteriorated and, you guessed it, the plague began.
That’s right: the plague didn’t happen during the Middle Ages – it was the direct result of centralized monetary and business policy in Europe at the beginning of the Renaissance. Once the plague killed off more than half of Europe, people got healthier and wealthier again, because the crippled, centralized economy could support that few.