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Old September 9 2012, 07:43 PM   #54
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

T'Girl wrote: View Post
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Running water/plumbing/sewage
The easy availability of food
Air Conditioning
Public transportation
Low Income Housing
All of which were available 100 years ago. We weren't exactly living in grass huts in 1912, and neither were the poor.
Add a additional fifteen to twenty years of life expectancy, and a much lower infant mortality rate, compared to 1912.

A hamburger is still a hamburger
Except it isn't, quality and safety of food for the urban poor is much better than a century ago.
Debatable, considering the majority of food sold in markets a century ago was being produced locally where food quality vis a vis contaminants and pathogens was less of an issue. Salmonella poisoning didn't become a recurring problem in raw eggs, for example, until the average transit time from product to customer was extended from hours to days. The natural response to this was to add preservatives and/or antibiotics to everything, although some factories now irradiate their meat with UV or gamma radiation to remove microorganisms prior to freezing.

Also curious is the fact that in 1912 the mortality rate from cancer was 76 deaths per 100,000 people. In 2012, that rate is now 188 for 100,000 people. Specifically, fatalities related to breast cancer went from 14% in 1912 to to 24% in 2012. This is because despite the existence of better treatments for cancer in the past hundred years, the rate of OCCURRENCE has more than quadrupled.

Granted, we're still not entirely sure what's causing the increase, but it seems evident to me that we have simply traded one ailment for another and called it progress.

but a man who makes $14,000 a year isn't going to do very well in a country where a bachelor's apartment costs $15,000
When I was making about $14,000 a year, I shared a "bachelor" apartment that cost $10,500 a year plus utlities with three other people. My share was $300 per month.
Don't know where you live, but in Chicago, a bachelor's apartment is what they used to call "studio."

What kind of absolute fool makes $14,000 a year and personally spends $15,000 on housing?
Someone who does not wish to live in the ghetto.

And at any rate, this is just the baseline for a single person working an entry-level position who find himself paying upwards of 80% of his income on basic housing for himself. What, then, do you do with a small family -- two parents and two children -- where a two bedroom apartment anywhere but South Austin can run from 18 to 20 thousand a year? The result is a two-income family that nevertheless remains in poverty, raises its children into poverty, and whose singular opportunity to escape from poverty is a vague "go back to college," a maneuver guaranteed to produce an additional 40 to 70 thousand dollars worth of student loan debt. Contrast with a worker in 1912, when it was possible to eject ones entire family out of poverty by obtaining a manufacturing job, no prior skills required (no one HAD them at the time; on-the-job training was a foregone conclusion).

General point I'm making here is this: despite vast improvements in quality of medical care and technology, the BASIC COST OF LIVING has increased enormously in the past century where by and large median incomes have not in any way kept up with this increase (in the auto industry, adjusted for inflation it has actually DECREASED by 25%). You could make the case that this is a fair trade for the middle class who have to dig just a little bit deeper in exchange for FAR superior service from a century ago. But this is not the case for the POOR. Not only do those enhanced services remain forever out of their reach, but even BASIC services begin to exceed their grasp and things that were easily obtainable a century ago -- basic housing and gainful employment, in particular -- come to require massive financial investments in and of themselves. That is NOT an improvement, and as a nation we've done a truly shameful job even acknowledging the problem.
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Last edited by Crazy Eddie; September 9 2012 at 08:05 PM.
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