A while ago I read an article about economic growth in Europe during the Middle Ages, but I can't find the article nor any other source for what I remember reading. According to my memory, this article said that economic growth averaged 0%-1% for centuries in the feudal agrarian system, and that everyone was so excited about exploiting the New World because the average return on investment for a transatlantic expedition was far higher than what could be reaped by farming.
The latter part seems completely logical, but I'm especially interested in the "0%-1%" figure, if there's any way to substantiate it. Such low growth rates would obviously make the wealthy extremely conservative with their investments. Does anyone know anything more about this?