Present time is pretty wonderful. Last week I held a speech at the birthday party of my grandmother. She turned 85. My speech was about the change of the last 85 years. The change for our nation. Our people. For past and current generations of humans living in western countries. Did you know that women in Germany were not allowed to work without the permission of their husband until 1977? And did you know, that Germany (and most of other european countries, I guess) have the longest period of peace since ever? 70 years without war on German soil. That never happened before. And I am pretty thankful for that.
The main point is, life got really better over the last decades. We have more free time. We work less (Work is easier than ever). We live longer. We are healthier. We earn more money. And we can buy more than we ever wanted.
We have the longest lifetime for the last 15.000 years
200 years ago, most people died at the 30 years of age on average. 30 years! If you are older, you maybe wouldn’t live anymore. One of the main reasons for early death were infections. A small fever could kill you. I am thankful for (re)discovery of antibiotics.
A short side notice: until 15.000 b.c. humans were hunters & gatherers. In contrast to common perception our ancestors did not die young. Newest research assume that your early tribal forefathers lived for 60 to 70 years, if they did not die from an unnatural cause. I guess the right food (no extra sugar, no extra fat, no supplement, no gen modification), enough sex, no arguments about property, physical activities and social contacts are ingredients for a long lasting life.
And today? Children born in this decade have the possibility to live for 100 years. We just needed 15.000 years to reach this level – again.
We die later than we used to
There are two reasons people die. First, they get sick. The better the health system is, the less people die from a minor infection. Second, we get killed. By accidents, cars or people.
There are several reasons that we get killed less often. Crime rate is not really an key issue anymore (also thanks to AI) for personal safety. Just compare your life to countries like Somalia, Mexiko or downtown Los Angeles – where you get shot just for your skin color or expensive looking shoes. I am glad, that I can walk everywhere I want in Berlin and still feel safe most of time.
Thanks to insurances and our legal system, we even do not fear accidents anymore (accident insurance), poverty among the elderly (pension fonds), children (child allowance), layoffs (unemployment insurance) and sickness (health insurance).
We have less environmental pollution.
Did you know, that we used lead pipes for water transport? Or imagine the times, when there was heavy industry in your city (steel, chemistry, coal). Conveniently we outsourced the dirty businesses to China, Russia and Brasil.
Additionally we have access to any kind of foods for every wanted diet. You can buy fresh fruits all the year round. You have a fridge and freezer to save them for a longer period. We do not need to eat potato soup every day of the year anymore.
We are richer than ever
The more money people have in their pockets, the less the needs to steel, rob or kill are. Social stability helps everyone to live longer and less stressful.
Maybe you do not feel it, but we all have more money than before. 1930 the average monthly earning in Germany was 300 €. Today we have 2.800 € to spend on average. Everyone earns more.
There are always the greedy ones, who get more than they should. As there was always a king, a pope and aristocracy. Every system brings economic inequality. That is why it is important to share a bit of our wealth to prevent a class of working poor – as we europeans already do compared to our friends in the USA.
You work less and still have a better job
As I have stated, you earn better. Why? Because you work harder? I guess not. 1870 the average working time in western countries was 72 hours per week. Today we have a 35 hour week in France. And people still earn more than in 1870. Why? We are better educated. We adapt to change. We use technology.
Only 300 years ago 85 % of people worked as farmers. I tell you, growing up on the countryside, that was really tough work. You had to sleep with the animals in a room. You had to work outside every day. Physical work. Hard work. Exhausting work.
Today less than 1,5 % of our workforce are farmers. Most people have pretty easy jobs: traveling, sitting in a air-conditioned office, having a company credit card, bonus payment and intellectual challenging tasks.
We won lots of free time in the last decades. While earning more. While living safer and healthier.
You can buy more
Life today is better than kings lived 150 years ago.
Today the bottom 99 % have more than the top 1 % used to have.
We have internet, a fridge, supermarkets, cars, planes, cell phones, computers, electricity and flushing toilettes.
The iPhone in your pocket has more processing power than 90’s computers. And you do not need to pay millions $ for it.
Looking forward to future
I am excited to look forward to our future. Improvement is accelerating. That means there are some surprises to be expected. Hopefully the future brings us a long life in health and abundance (mobility, security, family, entertainment, food, etc).