Amazing progress in living standards from 100 years ago
“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?