November 27, 2008

Material Abundance and Feeling Abundant

The Thanksgiving holiday is a good excuse to reflect on the material abundance of our time. The ordinary person in 2008 has five times the material possessions of 50 years ago, and orders of magnitude more than the kings and queens of five centuries ago.

The relative material success of our time comes as a surprise to many people just because they don’t feel so prosperous. In strictly material terms, though, we are astonishingly prosperous compared to any other period in history.