Take any one of a variety of economic indicators. Per capita income. Life expectancy. Stuff people own. Average height. Child mortality. Number of pants and underwear owned.
Graph it over the last 2,000 years.
You will see a hockey stick. Flat with no growth for century after century. Brutal, hungry, and disease-ridden short lives were the norm 3000 years ago.
And 1000 years ago.
And 500 years ago.
So far, any graph you draw of any of those indicators is a flatline.
Then, about 200 years ago, every one of the graphs took off like a Shuttle launch. Something happened.
For the first in a series of videos, Professor Don Boudreaux explains what this hockey stick looks like.
And what made things get so mind-bogglingly better.
Another idea for a hockey stick graph: number of natural teeth in your mouth at age 50.
Oh, wait. People usually didn’t live that long until a few hundred years ago.
link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9FSnvtcEbg&feature=player_embedded