“Then and Now” at Café Hayek discusses the radical change in living standards since Don Boudreaux’s grandparents were born.
Look at some of the improvements:
Maternal and infant mortality has dropped dramatically – His grandfather lost his mother (i.e. his great-grandmother) in childbirth. His grandfather and grandmother lost their 4th child a few days after birth.
High School graduation is normal – Only one of his four grandparents graduated High School.
Air travel and international travel is common – His grandfather traveled by air three times in his life. One of his four grandparents were ever outside the U.S. and that was a car trip to Canada.
Life expectancy and dental care – None of his four grandparents lived to 80 and none of them had their natural teeth when they died.
My guess it’s the same story for my grandparents and yours – a dramatic increase in living standards in 1 generation.
The main difference in my story is two of my grandparents spent a lot of time outside North America . . . they each immigrated from Norway.
However, those were one-way trips. After that? I doubt they were ever outside the U.S. again. They never had enough money to even consider such a thing.
That is tremendous progress. I wonder what caused that change?