Sunday, December 1, 2013

Economy: How Lucky We Are

(Drivebycuriosity) - Today would be the 100th birthday of my father. He didn`t make it, he passed away in 1998. But this gives me an occasion to compare the now with life around December first 1913.

In 1913 (naute):

- The average life expectancy in the United States was just 47 (forty-seven) years.
- The average working week in US manufacturing was around 55 hours (visualeconsite)
- Only 14 percent of the homes in the United States had a bathtub.
- Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
- There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.
- The maximum speed limit in most cities was ten mph
- Planes were flown by adventurers and were no means of mass transporatations
- There existed no radio broadcasting. TV was just science fiction.

- Plutonium, insulin, and antibiotics hadn't been discovered yet.
- Scotch tape, crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.

On Monday December 1st 1913 the Dow Jones stood at  75.77 points (stlouisfed). Last Friday the stock market gauge reached 16,086 points.

1913 had some remarkable events:
- Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, which not only revolutionized car production, but also all manufacturing. This led to much cheaper cars and other industrial products and made them affordable for the masses
- The 1st modern elastic brassiere was patented by Mary Phelps Jacob
- The US created the Federal Reserve System as a central banking system to prevent bank crises
- The US introduced an income tax (1%).

How lucky we are! Today we work much less and consume a lot of things and services that didn`t exist in 1913. We live much longer and are much healthier on average. We all benefit from technological advances and capitalism which has been boosting productivity extensively. 

I am a bit envious of today´s newborns. Many  could live through the next 100 years. What will they experience in this time?

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