Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
Quality of life
There is a narrative that paints life as a constant march of progress. This would be true only if you cherry pick facts.
Recently while listening to a podcast by Morgan Housel he made the point that in 1920 John Rockefeller was worth as much as 3% of the US GDP. That is like someone being worth USD 700 Billion today. Just for your reference, that is like the wealth of Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet and Lary Ellison put together.
But even with all that money at his disposal, he did not have Sunscreen, Tylenol, Anti-biotics, Chemotherapy, Vaccines for smallpox, Insulin for Diabetes, fresh produce in the winter, TV, overseas phone calls, Jets and the list goes on.
The average person can enjoy so much more today than the richest man could a hundred years ago.
This is a well-worn argument used by rich people to show how great the lives of poor people are today.
He also did not have Ozone Hole, antibiotic-resistant diseases, mutating viruses that can three waves of pandemics, AIDS, the obesity epidemic, the diabetes epidemic, processed food that is no good for your health, an inability to enjoy empty unstructured time, climate change, and I am sure the list goes on as well.
It is convenient to paint the world on a constant march forward because of everything that we have. Life was not that inconvenient before these conveniences showed up. It was simpler and arguably better. Only a person who has thrown away their phones and lived in a rural outpost would know.
Everything that we call convenience is the trapping of the modern world that makes you want more and more. The only thing that it successfully gives you is mental illness.