This article raises that interesting question.
In a way most of us don’t really understand how differently we live from even a very short time ago. Read the comments in this excellent piece from Sarah Hoyt.
The fact is that right now just about everybody in the Developed nations can afford products that are better and cheaper than anything has ever been made. For instance my car is almost ten years old and has never required major maintenance and the body is as free of exterior rust as when it was new. The computer I’m writing this on is more powerful than ANY computer that you could buy in 1980. The clothes I’m wearing are more durable and sewn better than anything you could buy in 1950. And everything is essentially so cheap that just about everybody can afford it.
The fact is that, because of the constant improvement of manufacturing techniques the difference between the highest quality and lowest quality goods has become essentially nonexistent.
The advent of cheap and easily available energy has changed the game as far as relative wealth and what you can do with it are concerned If we all have 600 invisible slaves working for us all the time, aren’t we all incredibly wealthy?
Consider the changes since the turn of the last century where, like the anime series “Emma” the wealthy had armies of servants at hand and foot. Just look at them all.
Of course nowadays, except for royalty, who are sort of bound by tradition, that sort of life style is not only wasteful, it’s constraining and rather stupid. Sure the wealthy have people working for them, but the waiting hand and foot thing, who wants that. And if you take a trip just about everybody gets pretty good service.
The great gap in lifestyles due to wealth is by and large gone, which begs the question, what can the wealthy buy with their money? The answer isn’t very pleasant.
What they buy is access and power. You don’t have to look much further than Warren Buffett, George Soros or Tom Steyer to see that. Or the Koch Brothers for that matter. All of these people and other have created large influence building organizations for the sole purpose of influencing the rest of us stupid schmucks to do what they want us to. What they want us to do all too often is to give up the liberties and standard of living that our parents and grandparents worked so hard to build and retreat back to a lifestyle that will not compete with our “betters.” Sorry, but I’m not going for that.
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