We have written a number of posts about the need to view our future with optimism. Frankly, it is a requirement to own shares in the great companies of the world known as stocks.
This post attempts to provide a reality check against the ever-present negativity in the news with an understanding of the blessings that we all have living in the United States today.
I heard a story about a professor who asks his students to ponder this question.
Would you rather live as a King back in the medieval times or live as an average person today in the United States?
As the students discover after some moments of reflection, the correct answer is living today as an average citizen of the United States.
Kings – with all of their wealth – still had no way to fend off illness that we consider routine such as the flu. Their daily food choices were limited by what could be produced by local farmers and food safety was always in question.
In fact, economic historian David Landes has observed that Nathan Meyer Rothschild the richest man in the world of his time died in 1836 of an infection that would have likely been cured by an antibiotic.
Unfortunately for Nathan and thousands like him who lived before 1928, Alexander Fleming had not yet discovered penicillin. However, by 1950, mass production of antibiotics and other medicines not only made these medicines available, but also affordable, to many people and not just the wealthy.
Today, the variety of food choices and entertainment choices that we all have as consumers has never been so plentiful. We regularly enjoy coffee from the finest plants in Columbia and consume oil for our transportation needs found in the Middle East.
By 1998 in the United States, we had over 185 TV channels available (but still nothing worth watching!) and over 87 brands of soft drinks available for our pleasure and growing every year. Compare that to 1970, when there were only 5 TV channels and 20 soft drinks types. The increase in the variety of products and services available to all of us is a good indication of the advanced U.S. economy. Walk into any Walmart and you should be amazed at the affordable variety in thousands of consumer products available to us all.
The article linked below is written by Morgan Housel and discusses why he believes that we are living during the greatest time period ever lived by humans. And if you are living in the United States, all the better.
He discusses 50 reasons including the fact that the average American now retires at age 62. He writes, “One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51. Enjoy your golden years — your ancestors didn’t get any of them.” Most of us will get over 20+ years in retirement.
Click the link below to read about the amazing period that we all enjoy, and imagine the world that our children and grandchildren will enjoy.
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1) David Landes, “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” 1998