Sunday, March 8, 2015

What’s Changed About the Standard of Living 1

Cato Unbound is running a series of 4 op-eds about how the standard of living has changed in the U.S. over the last several decades.

They let the conservatives go first, so go and read Megan McArdle and Brink Lindsey.

Here’s Megan:

We should never pooh-pooh economic progress. As P.J. O’Rourke once remarked, I have one word for people who think that we live in a degenerate era fallen from a blessed past full of bounty and ease, and that word is “dentistry.”

… Changes in job and family structure that have made the lives of people who are indisputably vastly materially richer than my young grandparents were, nonetheless feel much more precarious. We look into the numbers and think we’re seeing hard facts. But in fact, like someone reading tea leaves, we are projecting our intangible impressions onto an ambiguous picture.

Here’s Brink:

As the comedian Louis C. K. put it, “Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy.”

In contemporary society, paid employment along with marriage and childrearing are far and away the most important social relationships we have. They ground our personal identities and imbue our lives with meaning and purpose. Yet these vital interpersonal connections are now fraying badly.

Remind me in a few weeks if I don’t post what the two liberals have to say.

FWIW: Both Megan McArdle and Brink Lindsey would probably object to my label of conservative. I think they both would like classical-liberal, but few know what that means. I think Lindsey probably votes Republican, but would call himself a libertarian. McArdle is much more eclectic.

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