If you pay the slightest attention to the media it would appear that our present world is the worst moment in history to live. New diseases are overwhelming us, the economy is tanking, the airline system is in total chaos, life expectancy is dropping rapidly, the middle class is almost gone, your privacy is gone. Oh, the troubles. The media makes its money by publishing things that will worry you, not by giving you an honest assessment of the state of the world.
From Our World In Data the average life expectancy, at birth, of humans in the world until 1800 was roughly 30 years, by 1870 with better records it was still 29.7, by 1973 it was 60 years, by 2001 it was 66.6 years. Today it’s 82 for males and 85 for females. “No country in the world has a lower life expectancy than the countries with the highest life expectancy in 1800.” In the tiny country of Monaco it’s 90. A lot of media attention is given to how horrible our food is, but if it is so bad why are we living so long?
Zika is about to get us. It’s a disease that was nearly unknown until this year because its effects are so mild, but because it causes birth defects it is suddenly in the news. What about the fact that the deadly diseases of my childhood in 1935, are gone? That would be reported in a fair and balanced news report, or at least mentioned occasionally. Who among the kids now of voting age have even heard of tuberculosis, whooping cough, scarlet fever, influenza with pneumonia, diphtheria, smallpox, cholera, polio, meningitis, typhoid and many others? So why should they bother giving tax money to keep them suppressed?
How about auto accidents? Back in 1968 there were 52,725 fatalities, or 26 fatalities per 100,000 people, but now there’s only 10. With only 1 billion miles driven and not the 3 billion miles driven now. Cars and our roads are so much safer that people won’t pay the taxes to maintain them, and bridges built years ago for far less traffic are occasionally falling down. But, these things are still good condition on average, due to the care our elders spent in building them.
And the air travel is presently a disaster, because of the long lines, and it might take you 12 hours instead of 11 hours to get from San Francisco to Paris. Whereas, in 1849 it took some six months, and a lot of people died along the way.
What about entertainment, that vast wasteland of drivel that everyone complains about but still watches TV some eight hours per day? People now choose to do that rather than participate in the things we did back in the late 1930s for idle time entertainment, like play cards. Things are lots better; well, at least you have a choice.
People complain about the cost of food, but easily forget that back when our country was founded more than ninety percent of Americans were farmers. No young voter would bother to ask why so many farmers? The obvious answer was that it took a lot of human effort to create food, whereas now few people even know a farmer because there are so few of them. Only two percent of us are farmers, and that means the rest of us may be employed making all the other stuff we consider essential, and let food take care of itself.
We easily lose sight of the simple fact that at this moment in time we are living in what people of every other period of time would call a heaven. It is strange that so many people have fallen into financially desperate conditions, when all of the things above are so readily available.
My point is that:
We are living in a time of great abundance and opportunity.