50 Reasons We're Living Through the Greatest Period in World History

I recently talked to a doctor who retired after a 30-year career. I asked him how much medicine had changed during the three decades he practiced. "Oh, tremendously," he said. He listed off a dozen examples. Deaths from heart disease and stroke are way down. Cancer survival rates are way up. We're better at diagnosing, treating, preventing, and curing disease than ever before.

Consider this: In 1900, 1% of American women giving birth died in labor. Today, the five-year mortality rate for localized breast cancer is 1.2%. Being pregnant 100 years ago was almost as dangerous as having breast cancer is today.

The problem, the doctor said, is that these advances happen slowly over time, so you probably don't hear about them. If cancer survival rates improve, say, 1% per year, any given year's progress looks low, but over three decades, extraordinary progress is made. 

Compare health-care improvements with the stuff that gets talked about in the news -- NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell interrupted a Congresswoman last week to announce Justin Bieber's arrest -- and you can understand why Americans aren't optimistic about the country's direction. We ignore the really important news because it happens slowly, but we obsess over trivial news because it happens all day long.

Expanding on my belief that everything is amazing and nobody is happy, here are 50 facts that show we're actually living through the greatest period in world history.  

1. U.S. life expectancy at birth was 39 years in 1800, 49 years in 1900, 68 years in 1950, and 79 years today. The average newborn today can expect to live an entire generation longer than his great-grandparents could.

2. A flu pandemic in 1918 infected 500 million people and killed as many as 100 million. In his book The Great Influenza, John Barry describes the illness as if "someone were hammering a wedge into your skull just behind the eyes, and body aches so intense they felt like bones breaking." Today, you can go to Safeway and get a flu shot. It costs 15 bucks. You might feel a little poke.

3. In 1950, 23 people per 100,000 Americans died each year in traffic accidents, according to the Census Bureau. That fell to 11 per 100,000 by 2009. If the traffic mortality rate had not declined, 37,800 more Americans would have died last year than actually did. In the time it will take you to read this article, one American is alive who would have died in a car accident 60 years ago.

4. In 1949, Popular Mechanics magazine made the bold prediction that someday a computer could weigh less than 1 ton. I wrote this sentence on an iPad that weighs 0.73 pounds.

5. The average American now retires at age 62. One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51. Enjoy your golden years -- your ancestors didn't get any of them.

6. In his 1770s book The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith wrote: "It is not uncommon in the highlands of Scotland for a mother who has borne 20 children not to have 2 alive." Infant mortality in America has dropped from 58 per 1,000 births in 1933 to less than six per 1,000 births in 2010, according to the World Health Organization. There are about 11,000 births in America each day, so this improvement means more than 200,000 infants now survive each year who wouldn't have 80 years ago. That's like adding a city the size of Boise, Idaho, every year. 

7. America averaged 20,919 murders per year in the 1990s, and 16,211 per year in the 2000s, according to the FBI. If the murder rate had not fallen, 47,000 more Americans would have been killed in the last decade than actually were. That's more than the population of Biloxi, Miss.

8. Despite a surge in airline travel, there were half as many fatal plane accidents in 2012 than there were in 1960, according to the Aviation Safety Network. 

9. No one has died from a new nuclear weapon attack since 1945. If you went back to 1950 and asked the world's smartest political scientists, they would have told you the odds of seeing that happen would be close to 0%. You don't have to be very imaginative to think that the most important news story of the past 70 years is what didn't happen. Congratulations, world.

10. People worry that the U.S. economy will end up stagnant like Japan's. Next time you hear that, remember that unemployment in Japan hasn't been above 5.6% in the past 25 years, its government corruption ranking has consistently improved, incomes per capita adjusted for purchasing power have grown at a decent rate, and life expectancy has risen by nearly five years. I can think of worse scenarios.

11. Two percent of American homes had electricity in 1900. J.P Morgan (the man) was one of the first to install electricity in his home, and it required a private power plant on his property. Even by 1950, close to 30% of American homes didn't have electricity. It wasn't until the 1970s that virtually all homes were powered. Adjusted for wage growth, electricity cost more than 10 times as much in 1900 as it does today, according to professor Julian Simon.

12. According to the Federal Reserve, the number of lifetime years spent in leisure -- retirement plus time off during your working years -- rose from 11 years in 1870 to 35 years by 1990. Given the rise in life expectancy, it's probably close to 40 years today. Which is amazing: The average American spends nearly half his life in leisure. If you had told this to the average American 100 years ago, that person would have considered you wealthy beyond imagination.

13. We are having a national discussion about whether a $7.25-per-hour minimum wage is too low. But even adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage was less than $4 per hour as recently as the late 1940s. The top 1% have captured most of the wage growth over the past three decades, but nearly everyone has grown richer -- much richer -- during the past seven decades.

14. In 1952, 38,000 people contracted polio in America alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2012, there were fewer than 300 reported cases of polio in the entire world.

15. From 1920 to 1949, an average of 433,000 people died each year globally from "extreme weather events." That figure has plunged to 27,500 per year, according to Indur Goklany of the International Policy Network, largely thanks to "increases in societies' collective adaptive capacities."

16. Worldwide deaths from battle have plunged from 300 per 100,000 people during World War II, to the low teens during the 1970s, to less than 10 in the 1980s, to fewer than one in the 21st century, according to Harvard professor Steven Pinker. "War really is going out of style," he says.

17. Median household income adjusted for inflation was around $25,000 per year during the 1950s. It's nearly double that amount today. We have false nostalgia about the prosperity of the 1950s because our definition of what counts as "middle class" has been inflated -- see the 34% rise in the size of the median American home in just the past 25 years. If you dig into how the average "prosperous" American family lived in the 1950s, I think you'll find a standard of living we'd call "poverty" today.

18. Reported rape per 100,000 Americans dropped from 42.3 in 1991 to 27.5 in 2010, according to the FBI. Robbery has dropped from 272 per 100,000 in 1991 to 119 in 2010. There were nearly 4 million fewer property crimes in 2010 than there were in 1991, which is amazing when you consider the U.S. population grew by 60 million during that period.

19. According to the Census Bureau, only one in 10 American homes had air conditioning in 1960. That rose to 49% in 1973, and 89% today -- the 11% that don't are mostly in cold climates. Simple improvements like this have changed our lives in immeasurable ways.

20. Almost no homes had a refrigerator in 1900, according to Frederick Lewis Allan's The Big Change, let alone a car. Today they sell cars with refrigerators in them.

21. Adjusted for overall inflation, the cost of an average round-trip airline ticket fell 50% from 1978 to 2011, according to Airlines for America.

22. According to the Census Bureau, the average new home now has more bathrooms than occupants.

23. According to the Census Bureau, in 1900 there was one housing unit for every five Americans. Today, there's one for every three. In 1910 the average home had 1.13 occupants per room. By 1997 it was down to 0.42 occupants per room.

24. According to professor Julian Simon, the average American house or apartment is twice as large as the average house or apartment in Japan, and three times larger than the average home or apartment in Russia.

25. Relative to hourly wages, the cost of an average new car has fallen fourfold since 1915, according to professor Julian Simon.

26. Google Maps is free. If you think about this for a few moments, it's really astounding. It's probably the single most useful piece of software ever invented, and it's free for anyone to use.

27. High school graduation rates are at a 40-year high, according to Education Week. 

28. The death rate from strokes has declined by 75% since the 1960s, according to the National Institutes of Health. Death from heart attacks has plunged, too: If the heart attack survival had had not declined since the 1960s, the number of Americans dying each year from heart disease would be more than 1 million higher than it currently is. 

29. In 1900, African Americans had an illiteracy rate of nearly 45%, according to the Census Bureau. Today, it's statistically close to zero. 

30. People talk about how expensive college is today, but a century ago fewer than one in 20 Americans ever stepped foot in a university. College wasn't an option at any price for some minorities because of segregation just six decades ago.

31. The average American work week has declined from 66 hours in 1850, to 51 hours in 1909, to 34.8 today, according to the Federal Reserve. Enjoy your weekend.

32. Incomes have grown so much faster than food prices that the average American household now spends less than half as much of its income on food as it did in the 1950s. Relative to wages, the price of food has declined more than 90% since the 19th century, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

33. As of March 2013, there were 8.99 million millionaire households in the U.S., according to the Spectrum Group. Put them together and they would make the largest city in the country, and the 18th largest city in the world, just behind Tokyo. We talk a lot about wealth concentration in the United States, but it's not just the very top that has done well.

34. More than 40% of adults smoked in 1965, according to the Centers for Disease Control. By 2011, 19% did. 

35. In 1900, 44% of all American jobs were in farming. Today, around 2% are. We've become so efficient at the basic need of feeding ourselves that nearly half the population can now work on other stuff.

36. One of the reasons Social Security and Medicare are underfunded is that the average American is living longer than ever before. I think this is literally the best problem to have.

37. In 1940, less than 5% of the adult population held a bachelor's degree or higher. By 2012, more than 30% did, according to the Census Bureau.

38. U.S. oil production in September was the highest it's been since 1989, and growth shows no sign of slowing. We produced 57% more oil in America in September 2013 than we did in September 2007. The International Energy Agency projects that America will be the world's largest oil producer as soon as 2015.

39. The average American car got 13 miles per gallon in 1975, and more than 26 miles per gallon in 2013, according to the Energy Protection Agency. This has an effect identical to cutting the cost of gasoline in half.

40. Annual inflation in the United States hasn't been above 10% since 1981 and has been below 5% in 77% of years over the past seven decades. When you consider all the hatred directed toward the Federal Reserve, this is astounding.

41. The percentage of Americans age 65 and older who live in poverty has dropped from nearly 30% in 1966 to less than 10% by 2010. For the elderly, the war on poverty has pretty much been won.

42. Adjusted for inflation, the average monthly Social Security benefit for retirees has increased from $378 in 1940 to $1,277 by 2010. What used to be a safety net is now a proper pension.

43. If you think Americans aren't prepared for retirement today, you should have seen what it was like a century ago. In 1900, 65% of men over age 65 were still in the labor force. By 2010, that figure was down to 22%. The entire concept of retirement is unique to the past few decades. Half a century ago, most Americans worked until they died.

44. From 1920 to 1980, an average of 395 people per 100,000 died from famine worldwide each decade. During the 2000s, that fell to three per 100,000, according to The Economist.

45. The cost of solar panels has declined by 75% since 2008, according to the Department of Energy. Last I checked, the sun is offering its services for free. 

46. As recently as 1950, nearly 40% of American homes didn't have a telephone. Today, there are 500 million Internet-connected devices in America, or enough for 5.7 per household.

47. According to AT&T archives and the Dallas Fed, a three-minute phone call from New York to San Francisco cost $341 in 1915, and $12.66 in 1960, adjusted for inflation. Today, Republic Wireless offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $5 a month.

48. In 1990, the American auto industry produced 7.15 vehicles per auto employee. In 2010 it produced 11.2 vehicles per employee. Manufacturing efficiency has improved dramatically.

49. You need an annual income of $34,000 a year to be in the richest 1% of the world, according to World Bank economist Branko Milanovic's 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. To be in the top half of the globe you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it's $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000. America's poorest are some of the world's richest. 

50. Only 4% of humans get to live in America. Odds are you're one of them. We've got it made. Be thankful. 

Check back every Tuesday and Friday for Morgan Housel's columns on finance and economics. 

 


Read/Post Comments (71) | Recommend This Article (279)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 5:53 AM, Chilaw wrote:

    Excellent article, helps keep things in perspective when the media is constantly hitting us with negativity. I think many countries would have similar comparison stats showing immense progress in the past century. Not to mention other advances like the internet, mobile technology, 3-D printing, space exploration, the rise of international human rights, improvements in race relations, free trade and more.

    Just imagine what one more century of similar progress might bring.

    One small quibble: #49. Are those income figures based on straight exchange rates or purchasing power parity? I suspect the former. If you adjust then for PPP (cost of living), average Americans aren't so far ahead of the world. Less income is needed, in say, India or Brazil, to achieve comfortable middle class status. Middle class Americans have much larger costs to bear in some categories like health care, college tuition (I know, see your other article on tuition) and, in some cities, housing.

    $34K/year may be the upper 1% in the world, but would afford a different lifestyle in the US versus Africa or South Asia.

    Still, the point is, incredible progress has been made in just a few generations. Thanks for reminding us!

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 7:17 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    chilaw, it's adjusted for PPP. The linked article explains more.

    Thanks!

    -Morgan

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 8:02 AM, Chilaw wrote:

    "it's adjusted for PPP"

    Wow, that surprises me! I stand corrected, very thought provoking.

    Of course, we know from studies that people are more worried about income/wealth relative to their peers than their absolute status or their status relative to far off societies. Still, it's amazing and people ought to know this perspective.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 9:34 AM, pondee619 wrote:

    "35. In 1900, 44% of all American jobs were in farming. Today, around 2% are. We've become so efficient at the basic need of feeding ourselves that nearly half the population can now work on other stuff" Huh?

    Wasn't more than half the population (56%) working on other stuff than farming in 1900? Aren't 98% now working on other stuff?

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 2:32 PM, biba2011 wrote:

    Well I am not one of the lucky "4%" according to your definition of luck. But I can tell you I am happy to be living in this century.

    Good article though to America centric.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 2:45 PM, TMFBlacknGold wrote:

    @TMFHousel

    Great list. Although, with #2, the genetic makeup of the 1917-18+ flu pandemic was oddly unique and contagious. Even without understanding genetic reservoirs, one can glance at the demographics of the affected and compare to the "usual" flu strains to quickly see just how much of an outlier it was. That's not to say we haven't come a long way since, but a similarly virulent strain would still wreak significant havoc today.

    Maxxwell

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 4:48 PM, kyleleeh wrote:

    ^^^

    I'd also add that most of the deaths in the 1918 outbreak resulted from secondary bacterial infections after the flu progressed into pneumonia or bronchitis. Antibiotics were not in use until the 20s.

    penicillin has saved a lot more lives then the flu shot.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 4:50 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    ^ Can't argue with either of you.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 4:52 PM, sandfence wrote:

    Morgan, how do we put all those positives into perspective with global warming and the prospect of our species' extinction within a foreseeable future?

    I seek out your columns each week and always come away enriched by your perspective. Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 5:51 PM, venturen wrote:

    just think how great it would be if Washington and Wall Street weren't stealing the future!

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 6:00 PM, The1MAGE wrote:

    sandfence,

    Global Warming is partly true, but fear-mongering has blown it way out of proportion. If you understand how CO2 actually causes warming, you find that CO2 has a declining effect. We can't match the increase of the last century.

    And the extinction of our species is more of an academic discussion. CO2 can't cause it just because of warming (though it can get high enough that we can't breath, but still won't match the warming of the 20th century,) and the probabilities of any disaster, man made, or otherwise, causing a complete extinction of our species is extremely low. You really need to talk in terms of 100,000 years for a species our size, although global mass extinction events are millions of years apart.

    What is really important is how long before we are able to colonize space? (In a way not tied to Earth.) Once that occurs in a substantial way, some event could take the Earth, and humans could go on.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 6:23 PM, dadyer wrote:

    Excellent article, Morgan. In my opinion, all of your readers not familiar with Julian Simon would be wise to become so.

    The only thing I found lacking was mention of what type of institutional and political structure accounts for virtually all of the improvements you mention, i.e., the rule of law, recognition of and defense of property rights, and capitalism...and how the vast majority of it all was accomplished by the private sector...not governments!

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 6:34 PM, MikeinDenver wrote:

    #40 It isn't one year of inflation that kills you it is inflation over time. It takes $22.88 of 2012 dollars to buy what $1 bought in 1913. That is why the Fed is hated.

    #49 It does not in fact say it is adjusted for PPP. Here is what the article you linked to says. "Of course, goods and services cost different amounts in different countries. These numbers only apply to those living in the U.S."

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 6:37 PM, Sticks93 wrote:

    I once asked a professional friend why he thought that our times were better than the 'good ol' days'. He replied by saying that he would give me the complete answer with just one word. I raised an eyebrow.

    He said, "Dentistry!"

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 7:26 PM, sandfence wrote:

    @ The1MAGE

    Please document the information from which you draw you're conclusions. Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 7:29 PM, sandfence wrote:

    @1MAGE

    Please document the information from which you draw your conclusions. Thanks. (spell check failed me)

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 8:18 PM, cmalek wrote:

    I noticed that the same years were not used in all comparisons. In some cases 19th century dates are used, in others the beginning of this century, in still others 1950 and still others 1980s. There's nothing like cherry picking your data points to make things look better. I wonder how the comparisons would look if the date range was used in all of them.

    Actually, if any 70 year period in human history is examined, the conditions at the end of the period will always be better than those at the beginning of the period. So the statement that "We are living in the greatest period in world history" can be made at the end of any period so your articles is sophistry.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 8:25 PM, ponysean wrote:

    I noticed that most of the data is pre-1980. Anything after 1980 is technology related, and technology always gets cheaper every year.

    Would you consider writing a counter-article stating the stagnation/decline of the middle class over the last 30 years with the increasing redistribution of wealth to the top 0.01%.

    I definitely think that the media blows the inequality situation out of proportion, but if over the last 30 years the share income going to the top has increased exponentially, leaving the rest of us working class folks to fight over what is left. Do you agree that trickle down economics was a hypothesis that has been proven completely incorrect. De-regulation has led to a "trickle-up"

    I think this single point alone is a more important trend for the future.

    Also the advances in healthcare come at a cost, it now makes up almost 20% of GDP, that takes that money away from other parts of the economy.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 8:31 PM, teakbay wrote:

    Many of your facts are a very disturbing for in America there are many people below the poverty line and having a hard time just feeding their families. There is not what is called famine but hunger among children and elderly. True manufacturing has become more efficient through automation but also laid-off thousands of workers because of it. Energy cost for most Americans is cheap but at the cost of the environment and our children's future. Retirement for many Americans is a thing of the past and many again will work until they die because of greedy stock brokers and bankers. Improvements have been made, yes in some areas. Sorry but I think you are looking through rose colored glasses.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 9:26 PM, wjcoffman wrote:

    On one hand we manage to save infant lives. On the other hand . . . .

    #6. "Infant mortality in America has dropped from 58 per 1,000 births in 1933 to less than six per 1,000 births in 2010, according to the World Health Organization."

    US Census Bureau, 2012 Statistical Abstract (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/births_deaths_ma... Table 101. Abortions—Number and Rate by Race: 1990 to 2007:

    1990 all races - 27.4/1000 women

    2007 all races - 19.5/1000 women

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 10:09 PM, TENOFWANDS wrote:

    Superb propaganda; you have risen to the level of a role model.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2014, at 10:50 PM, jlclayton wrote:

    Excellent article which puts a lot of things into perspective as far as how good we have it compared to our forefathers. Every generation will have it's challenges, however, it's always good to remember how our lives have been enhanced by the advances that have been made over the years in our society.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 1:44 AM, Kiffit wrote:

    This is all possible because we are already living wildly beyond our ecological means.

    According to the WWF 'Living Planet Report', we are now living off 1.5 planets and by 2050, at current rates of economic growth, that will blow out to 3 planets by 2050.

    Obviously that cannot go on for long. The economic growth in South and Eastern Asia and parts of South America will see to that.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 7:02 AM, gkirkmf wrote:

    Morgan,

    All this is possible due to cheap energy... Nature tucked it away 600 million years ago, and we have been burning it for the last 250 years like there is no tomorrow... every item on this list relates back to this simple concept.

    So Morgan, get your pencil out and do the math on infinite growth. It works just like compound interest as you already know. I want to know how to invest in a declining, no growth , energy starved economy, to preserve my position in the top 1% on earth. Fool on.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 7:16 AM, radass wrote:

    This is very interesting. I agree with most of it. But #17 is disputable. Median cost of living adjusted for inflation was a lot less in the 1950s than today. This mainly because of energy. Back then, a barrel of oil was only $10-20 adjusted to inflation. Now, it is around $100-$140.

    It's a matter of supply and demand. If you have a shortage of essential commodities like energy relative to demand, the economy is going to less efficient. After the 1960s, we have become a energy-deficient consumer economy.

    In fact, it is more appropriate to measure oil prices nominally rather than in adjusted terms. Commodities like energy usually adjust inflation rather than be inflation-adjusted. By that measure, oil prices, which had been $2-3 a barrel since 1867, which is amazing by today's standards because back then the United States was by far a supplier nation rather than one in desperate demand like today as more and more oil was being discovered and produced cheaply (one barrel to extract 100) as the U.S. produced two-thirds of the world's oil by 1900. Which all kept oil prices at the same stable price for a 100 years.

    Even though income has doubled since the 1950s, the cost of living has outpaced income today.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 7:41 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    bubbaloui,

    You can still make calls. Just because it's through voip doesn't mean it's not a phone call.

    Thanks for the comments, all.

    -Morgan

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 8:15 AM, The1MAGE wrote:

    sandfence,

    Sorry, but this would take hours, and really it's not worth the time having an off topic debate in the comments section.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 9:01 AM, pmtwelve wrote:

    While I agree with all of Morgan's points and feel blessed to be living right now, I share sandedge's concerns about sustainability. There are many areas such as management (or lack thereof) of seafood stocks, water consumption and availability, pollution, climate change and energy generation for which there are real concerns about sustainability. While agreeing that "everything is amazing and nobody is happy" there is still a lot more work to do to ensure the present standard of living endures into the future. Excellent article, though I wish the topic of sustainability played into this somewhere.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 9:15 AM, martianrealist wrote:

    Morgan,

    I always feel inspired and thankful for all the things that I enjoy, everytime I read articles like these, from you. Also, it is a great way to put things in perspective when all the readers including me are looking for ways, to essentially make more money!

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 9:18 AM, GregTrocchia wrote:

    The1MAGE>> "Global Warming is partly true, but fear-mongering has blown it way out of proportion. If you understand how CO2 actually causes warming, you find that CO2 has a declining effect. We can't match the increase of the last century."

    Tell that to our sister planet Venus which, due largely to a runaway greenhouse effect, has a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead. Now understand that I am not saying that anything of the sort could happen on Earth, but if there were some mechanism which would limit the effect of greenhouse warming, why didn't that same mechanism halt what happened to Venus long before it got as hot as it did?

    Besides this, the most likely way that atmospheric CO2 could harm humanity is by distorting the ecosystem on which we depend in such a way as to make sustaining human life more difficult, rather than killing us directly. Falling crop yields, a crash in the worldwide annual fishing take, that sort of thing.

    I too look forward to the day when humanity produces enclaves living beyond the Earth and independent of it. At least until such time as we have that and, I would argue, beyond that point we are going to want to make sure that Earth remains livable. As such, prudence suggests that it is a good idea to limit the amount of change we make to the chemical composition of our atmosphere at least until we have a far better idea of what we are doing.

    MikeinDenver>>"It isn't one year of inflation that kills you it is inflation over time. It takes $22.88 of 2012 dollars to buy what $1 bought in 1913. That is why the Fed is hated."

    Let me point out that the average wage in 1913 was $740 a YEAR, so even with each of those dollars having $22.88 worth of purchasing power, that equates to a yearly salary of $16,931.2 dollars today. And remember this is the average salary at the time, not the poverty line.

    Since there is no inherent amount of purchasing power a dollar "should" have, being mad at the Fed for that reason strikes me as akin to thinking a stock which sells at $5 a share is necessarily cheaper than one selling for $500 a share, you are looking at the wrong metric.

    Obviously, if you are looking to bury your money for a century a la Captain Kidd, then loss in value due to inflation is a real problem, but if you do something more productive with it- to the tune of 3.5% or more ROI, that will more than keep pace with the historic rate of inflation from 1913 to now.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 9:31 AM, duuude1 wrote:

    Hey dadyer,

    You said:

    "The only thing I found lacking was mention of what type of institutional and political structure accounts for virtually all of the improvements you mention, i.e., the rule of law, recognition of and defense of property rights, and capitalism...and how the vast majority of it all was accomplished by the private sector...not governments!"

    First of all, the title is misleading as most Fool titles seem to be. This article is not a list of reasons - it is a list of historical comparisons, between now and way back whenever... showing HOW things are better now than any time in our history.

    A list of "50 Reasons..." would enumerate the causes for WHY we see these various improvements in quality of life, income, life span, etc. Some of those reasons would include the partial list you provide: "... the rule of law, recognition of and defense of property rights, and capitalism..."

    But that list of reasons would also include other critical aspects like: reliable national transportation networks and strong links to international trade; good basic sanitation and public health infrastructure (clean water/waste management, etc), strong commitment to research and education...

    That would be a very interesting article...

    I'm an investor, I feel lucky that I was born and raised here in the US at this moment in time, and I want/expect my investments (which I believe is your "private sector") to grow and profit in this outstanding time we live in.

    Almost none of the fundamental *reasons* for our excellent fortune here in the US today are due to the private sector, either mostly or alone.

    So I'm curious to hear why you think that the private sector has been an unusually Good Samaritan in setting up such a good shop for all to work in?

    (By the way, there are plenty of opportunities to invest in countries with weak central governments - none have strong private sectors. I wonder why?)

    Duuude1

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 9:51 AM, networkteacher wrote:

    Great points and although the naysayers make some as well, I would just add this for their benefit. There has never been a better time to give time and substance, nobly and charitably, to causes and individuals that solve genuine needs. If you see a problem, be part of the solution. That attitude on the part of your predecessors is largely reason that many of these statistics even exist. Whether it be inside a capitalistic venture, government initiative, or religious duty, the world continues to need problem solvers to forget themselves and live purposely.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 10:20 AM, cmalek wrote:

    @GregTrocchia:

    "why didn't that same mechanism halt what happened to Venus long before it got as hot as it did? "

    To blame carbon dioxide for Venus's runaway greenhouse effect is simplistic and misleading. In fact, it is a straw man. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere of Venus is way higher than it has EVER been in Earth's atmosphere. There is sulphuric acid and other sulphur compunds in Venus's atmosphere. Vulcanism on Venus is at a level that Earth has not seen in hundreds of millions of years. Venus is much closer to the Sun. Because of the high temperature, there are is no plant life on Venus that could convert CO2 back to Oxygen.

    If you Google "atmospheric CO2" you will find that most articles predict dire consequences for Earth because of the CO2. The predictions are backed up with all kinds of colorful graphs showing the inexorable increase in atmospheric CO2. Most of those graphs use 1950 as a starting point, some use 1750 and a few use year 1000 as the starting point. Considering that Earth has been in existence for 4.5 BILLION years and life has existed on Earth for close to 2 BILLION years, even 1000 years worth of atmospheric records is statistically insignificant. It is like making general statemts about the weather based on a one second snapshot.

    A chart of atmospheric CO2 for the last million years shows a 150,000 year cycle of variation between 180 parts per million and 350 ppm. During that time we've had 4 ice ages.

    It is belived by climatologists that, since life arose on Earth, there were times when atmospheric CO2 concentration was 10 to 200 times what it is today. And yet we have not had greenhouse Earth at any point. That is not to say that we should not look for alternative energy sources. However, hysterical predictions that Earth will turn into a Venus are just that, hysterical predictions.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 11:24 AM, scitracker wrote:

    If war is going out of style, why are we spending so much on war, and our DOD? It's great we believe we have so much (resources) that we feel we can afford to waste them, by having so much excess (unneeded bathrooms, 2 and 3 times the household space of Japan and Russia. Americans truly waste more than any other country. High school graduation rates at 40 year high? I suspect the college degree is equivalent to the high school degree of 50 years ago. I've found many high school graduates to be illiterate. America is becoming the number 1 producer of oil. Sadly that only gives us the false perception that we will always find more oil, and that we may continue to burn through fossil fuels as though they will never end, nor have any negative impact on the world. CO2 levels are higher now than they have ever been in 400,000 years. Simple physics tells us that we are contributing to global warming and that the effect will only continue to increase as we burn more fossil fuels.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 5:36 PM, 7Dragonz wrote:

    I think this article is a little juiced up.

    "Adjusted for inflation, the average monthly Social Security benefit for retirees has increased from $378 in 1940 to $1,277 by 2010. What used to be a safety net is now a proper pension."

    What a car Cost, on average, in 1940:

    Car: $850

    That's two and a quarter months of SS back then. If people could buy a new car for $2873.25 (2.25 X $1,277) right now I think there would be a lot of happy people. Of course there are countless new things that have been added to cars for safety/luxury, but that is still a far cry from the average price per car of $31,252 today.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 5:40 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    7dragonz,

    Adjusted for inflation, that $850 car cost $14,100 in 1940.

    Thanks for reading,

    Morgan

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 6:20 PM, 7Dragonz wrote:

    Ah, now that sounds better. Thanks for setting me straight Morgan. My mind is an open book.

    Cameron

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 6:23 PM, The1MAGE wrote:

    Greg Trocchia,

    It is sad this is turning into a global warming discussion, since the article had nothing to do with it.

    Anyway, you are right, that couldn't happen on earth for a few reasons. First being that Earth is in what is called the Goldilocks zone, and Venus isn't. It is 26 million miles closer to the sun. I have read, but not from a reliable source, that Venus receives about twice the solar energy as earth does.

    Venus's atmosphere is 96% CO2. That is 1,920,000% what it is on Earth.

    But when life appeared on Earth, it is believed the atmosphere was like Venus, then life popped up. Life wouldn't have had a chance if it was as hot as Venus. It was those single cell organisms that converted the atmosphere to what it is today. (And interestingly resulted in the first mass extinction, then the development of oxygen consuming organisms.)

    Again I said Global Warming is real, just that the fears are overblown. The Earth has had much higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere then today, and much warmer, yet life went on. You worry about crops, yet the growing season is actually 2 weeks longer then it was.

    For fishing, I am much more worried about all the mercury in the oceans. The oceans are still responding to events that happened 10,000 years ago, and people are trying to use a few years to make judgments about the environment.

    If you want to know the BS that is put out , here is one from 2007 (BBC) that reports that the arctic was supposed to be ice free by summer last year:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7139797.stm

    Yet it was up 29% in 2013, and I believe just broke a record in measurement.

    We are warned of impending doom, such as the 3.3 mm rise in sea levels per year, which accounts for about a 1.3 inch rise in a decade. It's like running from a toothless, quadriplegic zombie.

    Regardless, if you truly want to reduce CO2 levels, there is only one choice, and few environmentalists would choose that option, and that is going nuclear. And yes I would not have any problem living next to a new nuclear plant. (New, not the 40 year old ones using “ancient” technology, and would have been shut down years ago if they were allowed to build modern replacements.)

    Now we have gone way off topic. Few people are going to even read this, and unfortunately going to accept or reject anything I have said without doing their own research. (Real research, not listening to any single source, especially with so many biased one out there.)

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 6:51 PM, The1MAGE wrote:

    Morgan Housel,

    I apologize for contributing to mucking up the comments section.

    I thought this was a great article.

    It brought to mind how earlier this week, I asked my phone what a dollar from 1975 was worth today, and while I had to rephrase once, it gave me an answer. I first saw this type of technology on Star Trek.

    Sitting in my pocket is what would have been a supercomputer decades ago.

    If what Bill Gates said is true, of the 32 poorest nations, the poorest of the 32 is better off then the richest of the 32 a few decades ago.

  • Report this Comment On January 31, 2014, at 7:59 PM, GregTrocchia wrote:

    The1Mage:

    There was a reason that I was careful to state upfront that I didn't foresee anything like what happened to Venus also happening to Earth (I should hope not). The point is that you seemed way too confident, IMO, that the temperature impact of increased CO2 concentration will be far smaller than it has been, without stating exactly why this is the case. The only reason to bring Venus up is to demonstrate that pushed to its extreme, greenhouse effects can be extreme indeed in ways that can override, at least in some cases, any moderating mechanism (hence reason to be cautious about the subject). BTW, I ran the numbers and while Venus doesn't quite get twice the intensity of Sunlight that Earth does, it is close enough to round to that.

    A couple of quick points about paleoclimate: 1) It is easy to lose track of the fact that for the majority of the time life has been on Earth, the apex of life on Earth was a colony of bacteria. Animals (not to mention humans) are relative newcomers. That needs to be factored in when asserting that X condition has occurred before and is thus, by implication, survivable by us.

    2) Ecosystems adapt to change all the time, but this is less comforting than it sounds because species in those ecosystems also go extinct all the time. There is no inherent guarantee that humans are safe from this (and I think the future of humanity is what most people are concerned about). A factor that is at least as important as the magnitude of the change is how quickly the change happens. Rapid change presents far more of a challenge to adapt to than the same amount of change spread over a longer period of time. The timescales humans tend to act on is a relative eyeblink in ecological terms, which greatly magnifies the effects of changes we induce.

    Let me close by returning to the main point of the article. Just because I believe that climate change is a challenge that needs to be addressed does not imply that I am pessimistic about our ability to address that challenge, in fact I am optimistic about our ability to do that.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 1:55 AM, jeffhre wrote:

    pondee619, 44% were working just on farms. That does not include the number of people in farming communities, who worked off the farms, in various support roles. Or in restaurants, food services, pubs, the ice man, the milk man, retail food sales/markets, transporting supplies for the food production industry...

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 3:53 AM, Ngbamine wrote:

    "For every effect there must be a sufficient cause." You don't allude to the sufficient cause for the drop in the falling murder rate. This is due to Sturm&Ruger and Smith&Wesson, together with the extension of rights to carry a concealed firearm being extended from 1 state, Florida, to all 50 today. That, and the Castle Doctrine that has gained in acceptance.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 6:18 AM, ellaerdos wrote:

    I found your article thought provoking and in some cases stimulating.

    Two feelings alien to most writers and almost all readers.

    :)

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 6:29 AM, The1MAGE wrote:

    GreggTrocchia,

    My issue is the illogical leap of Global Warming, then extinction. There is no explanation, nor intermediary to this. No definition of time frame, or how it all works. This was more heavily implied by sandfence, but I got the impression from you too.

    (Underpants - ? - Profit.)

    Yes we're not exempt from extinction, but exactly what needs to be there for an extinction event? We are all over the Earth, not concentrated in one area. There are 7 billion of us right now, a harder number to make extinct. We have shown our resilience as a species living not only through the ice age that ended 12,500 years ago, but we are living in climates as extreme as Dubai, and Siberia. With technology we have taken that even further, under the ocean, underground, and in space.

    You do say you are optimistic about our ability to deal with the issues, and I am somewhat saying the same thing, though I don't want people to overreact, or cause unnecessary harm to the economy, or even the environment in plans that don't actually benefit us. The “cure” shouldn't be worse then the “disease”.

    I believe if everyone didn't ever do a thing about global warming, we would still be moving away from carbon based fuels by the middle of this century. ITER is expected to be fully running by 2027, and the next test reactor (DEMO) is expected to be supplying energy to the grid by 2040. If things run smoothly, then this research could lead to full size plants breaking ground shortly after 2050, and in 30 years could be the worlds main energy source, during which time I expect energy produced CO2 to plunge.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 8:42 AM, dragonmonkey wrote:

    Great article, Morgan. I appreciate the research and effort to be clear about inflation adjusted numbers, etc. Now if the moderator would just delete the global warming debate from the comments section...

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 2:57 PM, crashchandler wrote:

    Great article---- thought provoking . The commentary following the article explains the impedance in congress about everything!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 7:39 PM, cmalek wrote:

    @The1MAGE:

    "There are 7 billion of us right now, a harder number to make extinct."

    A meteor strike such as the one that took out the dinosaurs, would severly stress the resilience of even 7 billion beings.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 8:42 PM, industrldisease wrote:

    Great article and certainly a reason to be thankful for being alive today. Some of those facts sound irrefutable ie. - life expectancy other medical advances. Certainly, some of the economic #s are contextual. Some of the pessimism that seems prevalent may be due to a crossroads of prosperity we appear to be at - concentration of wealth in fewer hands and correspondingly a concentration of power, difficulty transitioning to cleaner energy, amazing advances in healthcare for a population of increasingly obese individuals, before you get to overpopulation and global warming. The flip side of advances will be solving problems for people who live longer and expect more. Without returning to the good ol days maybe the key is to across the board find ways to prosper while expecting less?

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 1:42 PM, plcline wrote:

    On #45, $378.00 per month would equal the buying power of $6,289.84 2013 dollars

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 1:43 PM, plcline wrote:

    Sorry, #42 vice #45

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 7:29 PM, dadyer wrote:

    duuude1 1: "This article is not a list of reasons - it is a list of historical comparisons, between now and way back whenever... showing HOW things are better now than any time in our history."

    Then why did he title the article "50 Reasons We're Living Through the Greatest Period in World History"? We are better off because these things have happened! He sees reasons we are better off...you see historical comparisons. He says tomato, you say tomahto.

    A list of 50 reasons enumerating the causes would require about 25 more pages. Would you have bothered to even read the article then? Most others here wouldn't have, either. I think that is why he referenced the great economist Julian Simon and other sources...so those interested in delving into the causes could do so!

    The more important point I was making is that virtually all of the improvements in the human condition that Morgan is listing are not due to government but to entrepreneurs operating in the private sector.

    You seem to think inventions and improvements such as "reliable national transportation networks and strong links to international trade; good basic sanitation and public health infrastructure (clean water/waste management, etc), strong commitment to research and education..." would not have occurred without the government? Well, how did all those things get done when the government was still very small, limited, and non-intrusive in the lives of the people?

    And, please come back here and list all the wonderful improvements in the human condition that were contributed by the dictatorships, socialist and communist government controlled countries throughout the past couple of centuries.

    "Almost none of the fundamental *reasons* for our excellent fortune here in the US today are due to the private sector, either mostly or alone."

    You have got to be kidding! You really believe that? Have you never studied any economics or business history except from some leftist university professor?

    "So I'm curious to hear why you think that the private sector has been an unusually Good Samaritan in setting up such a good shop for all to work in?

    The private sector is only a phrase to describe the alternative to the government sector. It is not the private sector that creates anything Morgan listed. It is entrepreneurs and visionaries pursuing their self-interest that has led to the creation of these wonderful improvements that have bettered the environment in which we live today. And, those entrepreneurs and visionaries were able to do most of this because they were operating in an environment of economic and personal freedom and non-interference from government!

    The only contribution government has really made is to slow the process down, create barriers, create huge inefficiencies, corruption, waste, and rent-seeking and hinder the creative spirit and opportunities of the citizens!

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 7:45 PM, dadyer wrote:

    A quick note for the off-topic commenters on climate change (or global warming or whatever you are calling it this month!) who believe we are doomed if we don't end our fossil-fuel ways.

    Google the topic "products produced from petroleum" and look at the partial list of products listed at the ranken-energy web site.

    Still think you want to try living without fossil fuels?

    Finally, consider this little factoid from your Malthusian perspective:

    Population of earth: 7 billion

    Land area of Jacksonville, FL: 820 sq. mi. (25 billion sq. ft.)

    We could gather the entire population of Earth for a meeting in Jacksonville!

    Now consider the surface area of the planet: 197 MILLION SQUARE MILES!

    And you think humans could possibly be affecting the climate on this planet?

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 6:40 AM, georgetag wrote:

    In the 1970s the minimum wage for NYS was 2 dollars an hour.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 5:18 PM, Whittiermillie wrote:

    We are so lucky it is unspeakable to talk about anything other than how we can help the rest of the people on our island home be able to raise enough food for their family and some to share with friends; (see www,heifer.org. at work since just after WWII;) or how to educate girls and women in remote areas where females don't have the education we do (see Central Asia Institute) and last on my list but not least :how to get equally good health care for all people -- see Partners In Heath, an NGO tDr. Paul Farmer helped create in Haiti; it has become a global force for raising standards (see www.pih.org) and besides being lucky to live in the USA, all of us are particularly lucky to be in this wondeerful foolish community! Thanks to the Garcner brothers and their merry crew!

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 5:29 PM, Whittiermillie wrote:

    I hope someone corrects my typo, yikes, sorry about that Gardner brothers.

    PS the income gap has been widening since 1993 (my source is a cartoon in The New Yorker showing two old geezers in their paneled club room, one says to the other, "The poor are getting poorer, but with the rich getting richer it all averages out in the end."

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 10:38 PM, wjcoffman wrote:

    ^ dadyer - "We could gather the entire population of Earth for a meeting in Jacksonville!"

    Think it would affect the earth's rotation?

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 11:22 PM, BillFromNY wrote:

    Very entertaining article. I'm sure you yourself knew that you were sugar-coating quite a few of your points with poetic license.

    I guess other commenters have clarified the current flu situation. Every year those in charge of the flu vaccine make their best guesses as to which strains of flu will be most prominent in the coming season. How well they guess determines the effectiveness of that flu vaccine. If they completely miss, then the flu vaccine is of no use at all. You can read that right on the web site of the CDC.

    Unlike our success against bacteria, we have not developed any drugs that work against the viruses that cause the flu and many half-empty types believe a 1918 type pandemic is very possible.

    My "glass not even half full" persuasion centers on nuclear proliferation. It has been 70 years since the invention of the atomic bomb. That is plenty of time for bomb-making ability to have trickled down to the lower ranking nations of the world which have a generous supply of individuals willing to deliver the device at the cost of their lives. After all, after they die they will have access to 75 virgins. That could tempt a lot of men.

  • Report this Comment On February 05, 2014, at 4:28 AM, cholero wrote:

    26. Google Maps is free.

    So is Wikipedia! And its arguably just as useful, especially for settling bar bets.

  • Report this Comment On February 06, 2014, at 5:42 PM, Amateur2013 wrote:

    I smiled throughout the entire article. Thanks, Morgan.

  • Report this Comment On February 06, 2014, at 7:24 PM, The1MAGE wrote:

    BillFromNY,

    They do guess on what flu vaccine to put out, but those guesses are based on what is already active in the world, so these are some real good guesses.

    You are incorrect about us not developing anti-viral medications. Oseltamivir, or Tamiflu as it is marketed, is an anti-viral medication. There are at least 3 other anti-viral medications specifically for the flu.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 2:23 PM, agroumeliotis wrote:

    Great article, showing the evolution of human kind in various areas...

    Still we should not be misled by the numbers or the statistics, after all numbers have the charm of leading to different results depending on the way they are presented...

    What I mean, take for instance the following childish example, there are two friends - one of them are a chicken, the other did not - resulting to a half chicken portion for each of the two...

    Poverty, discrimination, homeless people either due to financial or due to natural causes, and of course how countries or even continents have raced all these years compared to others, lead some of us to believe that there are a lot to be done still.....

    Take care....

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 6:32 PM, ALLWIN wrote:

    Morgan, Much thanks for another well written informative article. "We ignore the really important news because it happens slowly, but we obsess over trivial news because it happens all day long."

    So very very truth, unfortunately I suspect that's not going to change in the near future, if at all.

    .

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 9:59 PM, LouieL0uie wrote:

    Perhaps I missed it but I would add that owning a piece of the world economy is much easier and cheaper today than it was 50 years ago. Today you can buy and sell stocks for under ten dollars a trade and you don't have to buy in lots of 100 shares or price your trades in eighths of a dollar.

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 10:44 AM, NotAFool123 wrote:

    This is chicken soup for the neoliberal soul. It is made to make neoliberals feel good about pilfering society. More of that 'you should feel lucky' baloney that we have been fed for the last 40 years as the American corporate state dehumanizes the vast majority of Americans into a meaningless existence.

    There are lies, darned lies and statistics. This article clearly points that out by deliberately misleading people about the unprecedented dehumanization of our society. Don't worry. The reality is about to reveal itself. And, it won't be a "top-ticking" article to this that reeks of 1929 redux.

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 3:38 PM, eldetorre wrote:

    "Land area of Jacksonville, FL: 820 sq. mi. (25 billion sq. ft.)

    We could gather the entire population of Earth for a meeting in Jacksonville!

    Now consider the surface area of the planet: 197 MILLION SQUARE MILES!

    And you think humans could possibly be affecting the climate on this planet?"

    So where on earth do you derive the idea that harm is proportional to mass? I suppose you wouldn't mind being injected by a syringe containing merely microscopic amounts of HIV?

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2014, at 8:36 PM, EricTheRon13 wrote:

    In an otherwise good article, you repeat a totally ignorant "truism" often used in the general media:

    In item 5, you say "One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51." This is a typical repeating of the "life expectancy at birth" statistic that has nothing to do with reality, because it is distorted by higher infant mortality. The truth is that the average life expectancy of 21-year-olds has only increased a few years in the last hundred years. Life expectancy of young adults has remained around the "three score and 10" range for quite a long time. However, life expectancy at 60 has increased due to medical advancements, and this is the reason Social Security and Medicare costs are increasing.

  • Report this Comment On February 13, 2014, at 12:32 PM, ilovesumm wrote:

    Ok ,

    1. U.S. life expectancy at birth was 39 years in 1800, 49 years in 1900, 68 years in 1950, and 79 years today. The average newborn today can expect to live an entire generation longer than his great-grandparents could.

    then

    43. If you think Americans aren't prepared for retirement today, you should have seen what it was like a century ago. In 1900, 65% of men over age 65 were still in the labor force. By 2010, that figure was down to 22%. The entire concept of retirement is unique to the past few decades. Half a century ago, most Americans worked until they died.

    if the life expectancy at 1900 was 49 , how many were even alive , let alone working at age 65 ?

  • Report this Comment On February 13, 2014, at 3:48 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    ^ A lot. Life expectancy at birth is far different than life expectancy at, say, age 40.

  • Report this Comment On February 13, 2014, at 4:17 PM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    A different term other than "life expectancy at birth" may be needed to measure the obvious increasing number of older people alive. Once past a certain age (I think it's in the early teens) death has always been increasing at about the same rate over time across many different eras. The only difference today is that we are dying from different causes. A hundred years ago childbirth, flu, smallpox, etc, (which had high probabilities of death per year over a much shorter period of time) were dominant. Today its heart disease, cancer, stroke (which for the most part have lower probabilities of death per year over a longer time period -- due to better medical care). In the future another set of causes further down the list (today) will dominate and unless the human genome has changed (or we completely eliminate accidents and war) there will be the same overall death rate which increases by the same probability number. Gompertz calculated this number to be 9% per year, from one year to the next.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 12:21 PM, JunkBondster wrote:

    I have to admit life here in the states is like walking into a giant cafeteria with everything I could imagine. Hmmmm...and since $34,000 puts a person into the top 1% of the world, well, just about all of us here qualify. Cool!

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 1:36 PM, kenb wrote:

    When I was in college the DJ average was 500 and now it is 16,000; my first car cost me $25; a loaf of bread cost $0.10; a McDonalds hamburger cos $0.15; my first job as a navy ensign I earned $220 a month. So a large portion of the growth is just inflation.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2816017, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 12/21/2014 3:15:56 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 day ago Sponsored by:
DOW 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
NASD 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes


Advertisement