There is a lot going on right now that can cause you to be frustrated and overwhelmed. The economy and rising prices is one of them. However, since we always try to see the brighter side of things today we are going showcase some of the ways things are way better today than they were 50 years ago even if most economists don’t agree. This episode won’t offer any solutions for rising gas prices or what is happening in Ukraine, but maybe it can give you a little bit of a different perspective on how much we have to be grateful for.
According to recent coverage on the news for “the first time in history average Americans have less education and are less prosperous than their parents.” Pew Research, meanwhile, reminds us that: “For most workers, real wages have barely budged in 50 years.” It seems to intuitively make sense that a major reason we feel so stressed and under pressure is that the economy is struggling. According to Grant Ryan, the writer of Comparonomics, there are both technical and philosophical reasons that is not technically true.
Rather than pick through the boring technical reasons these analyses are wrong, Grant created a simple tool to help you figure out for yourself how you’re getting on. It’s designed to help you ask yourself what parts of the economy are important to you, and then think about whether they’ve gotten better or worse. Here are some of the segments and areas he describes:
Housing: Many homes built in the 1970s would be illegal to build now, as they were of such low quality by modern standards (insulation, fire, noise, lighting, etc). Homes now are typically 70% bigger, and full of modern appliances and gadgets that make life easier—like dishwashers, TVs, speakers, etc.
Entertainment/recreation: You used to have to save up for an album; the only movie option meant going to a theatre. Now, for a few dollars a week you can have pretty much unlimited entertainment.
Health/medicine: We now live about 10 years longer due to a large range of improvements. For example, dangerous open heart surgery, in many cases, has been replaced with an outpatient procedure to put in a stent.
Education/information: In the 70s, buying a set of encyclopedias was a real investment. Many folks relied on the library. Now we have something 10,000 times better, for pretty much free. It’s easy to learn so much via online videos and information.
Travel: Forty or 50 years ago, you were much more likely to die in a transport accident. Flying was an occasional luxury; now it’s a normal thing for many people. Cars are much more reliable, efficient, and comfortable.
Communications: No more dollar-a-minute calls to relatives. It’s so cheap it’s essentially free to talk to anyone in the world.
Food/beverage: So many food options that we take for granted now were not widely available then, let alone delivered to your door. The best cook you knew was probably your mum, as eating out was a lot less common.
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