Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Something to Think About While Opening Presents Tomorrow

Don Boudreaux helps to remind us of just how impossibly amazing our living standards and lifestyles of would appear to even the massively wealthy and powerful of just a few hundred years ago.  Here's an excerpt from an article that Boudreaux features in his blogpost:
Louis XIV lived in constant fear of dying from smallpox and many other diseases that are now cured quickly by antibiotics. His palace at Versailles had 700 rooms but no bathrooms (hence he rarely bathed), and no central heating or air conditioning. One hundred years ago, John D. Rockefeller was the richest man the world. He did have bathrooms but still no air conditioning. Like Louis, he and his family were still in constant danger of dying from what would now be quickly treatable aliments or accidents. Rockefeller could travel by train or steamship, or very short distances by the newly invented automobile on largely dirt roads – luxuries not available to Louis XIV.
There's much more in Boudreaux's post including further links to very interesting sites of relevance to this topic, foremost of which is the Cato Institute's fabulous Human Progress project.