If you’ve been following the US election cycle, you’ll have noticed something; it’s all about jobs. What’s the problem you might ask? Well, it turns out that the average pay that the US worker takes home in his or her pay packet at the end of the month hasn’t gone up for a while. About 40 years in fact. At the same time, the pay for the richest 1 percent has gone up by over 300 percent. The game is rigged. And it’s unacceptable.
But all too often, people think they have to work harder. They have to accumulate more stuff. And they have to get one up over their neighbors. But this just adds insult to injury. First off, the money that they would have had has been skimmed off by the powers that be. But worse, they don’t enjoy the money that they do have because they’re so fixated on what the next guy has.
In this post, we’re going to investigate the reasons why you don’t need as much money today as you did in the past. As this helpful advice notes, it’s all about attitude, not material prosperity.
We’re Still Rich
Let’s take a step back for a moment and think about what we do have, regardless of the injustice. Americans living in the 1970s didn’t exactly have low standards of living. In fact, American workers were the envy of the world. Many got paid double what was paid to German workers, now considered an economic powerhouse.
Even though wages haven’t gone up an awful lot, we’re still rich. Yes, it’s disgusting that a lot of people can’t afford to feed and clothe themselves, but the average person is still fantastically well off. They’re able to run a car, go on holiday, and celebrate their kids’ birthdays. These would have been pipe dreams a century ago.
Stuff Is Just Better
What’s more, the actual stuff we have has gotten a lot better. There aren’t a lot of people who would choose a $15,000 1970s car over a car fetching the same price today. Modern consumer goods are miles ahead of where they were forty years ago. And that means that when we do buy something nice, we’re often getting something that’s a lot better.
Information Is Free
On many measures, we are infinitely richer than we were in the 1970s. GDP figures don’t include the vast increases in the informational wealth we’ve seen over the last forty years. The internet has given us all the intellectual and entertainment material we could ever want.
Many people say that this isn’t all that important for economic growth. And they’d be right; it isn’t, if you measure wealth in the traditional sense. But we don’t live in the traditional world of physical stuff as much. Music, books, videos – they’re all online and connected to the cloud in ways that our ancestors couldn’t imagine. And they make us a heck of a lot wealthier, even if they don’t show up in our bank balances or GDP figures.
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