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How Do You View Wealth?

How Do You View Wealth?

WTF’s Host Warren Kimmel is back with another conundrum, would you rather be wealthy 100 years ago or middle class today?  The answer may surprise you.

I listen to Planet Money on NPR Radio a lot, its a really great show. Last week they polled their listeneres with the following question: Would you rather live in 2010 and be earning $70,000 per year (middle class) or live in 1910 and be earning $70,000 per year (In 1910 this would make you fabulously wealthy and be the equivalent of earning $700,000 per year today)I love this because everyone I have asked this question of is so sure they know the answer that they say something like – “oh, that’s easy I would definitely……” and then they stop and think for a long time as the implications of their answer becomes clear. Almost everyone wants the $700,000 before they have thought about it. I mean who wouldn’t want to be that rich. But then it occurs to them that living in 1910 would mean (just for example) No TV, No Movies, No flight, No Interwebs!!, No modern medicine, No Coke Zero (OMG), no Iphone (getting dizzy), No IPad (losing consciousness),  No Angry Birds (Somebody wake me from this nightmare).

The point is that the march of technology and more importantly the march of economic growth and development has meant that we all live like kings these days, hell we live better than kings (seriously – Angry Birds. On the Ipad! Kings I tell you!!). (BTW the fellow in the interesting pants with the special hairdo is Louis XIV and yes I know he didn’t live in 1910.)

Everyone I asked wrestled with themselves for long seconds before answering and over 75{5ca2eb384d09d98d15e1efd1e27b66aae779e3e721a4a8d35c0ac7b222cb3660} chose now and just a guy, over 1910 and rich as Croesus. Personally I think they made the right decision. There is no comparison between our lives and what we have available to us compared with 1910. Sure it might be fun for a while, till you remember that no TV means no HBO and no AMC. No Mad Men. No Breaking Bad. Nothing. Our lives will continue to get more and more amazing and I think it will happen faster and faster (Think Angry Birdz the movie!) and as for those few of my friends that chose 1910 over 2010, well it turns out that none of them even drinks Coke Zero. I rest my face!

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