1781. The poor of today better off than the kings of yesteryear. False.

Picked at random from many articles, this one from the Atlantic.

Living standards are orders of magnitude higher for my correspondent than for almost all Americans in the history of the country and 99 percent of humans for the history of the species. This represents… failure? It is folly to revolutionize rather than reform a system that got us here—to swap it for an unknown due to some low growth and government incompetence, ills with which residents of all systems of government are very familiar.

“Living standards are higher..” Why do we keep getting this meme?  In older times people had things we have lost. Family and community, connection to the outdoors, varied cuisine. Sure there were ups and downs. The point is to make the comparison in ways that count, not just start, and keep, the assumption that all is better now. If we are to figure out where we can go, out of our current mess, we need to be able to think more accurately. Otherwise we will defend the present against any past,  or any future that asks for fundamental changes, say level of income down with inequality way down. Maybe not so bad. But it requires thinking.

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