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Around the Internet => Mustachianism Around the Web => Topic started by: MustachianAccountant on May 12, 2017, 05:05:39 AM

Title: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: MustachianAccountant on May 12, 2017, 05:05:39 AM
A bit of perspective (that most of us already have) on the advancements that make our average lives today better than an early-1900's billionaire's:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/thinking-youre-living-in-a-hellhole-today-try-being-a-billionaire-in-1916/2017/05/05/475d7370-30f9-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Linda_Norway on May 12, 2017, 05:39:35 AM
Nice article. Puts things in perspective.
Antibiotics and anesthetics surely make today's life a lot better than year 1900. All the machines we use today also help a lot: washing machine, dishwasher, snow cleaner, cars! Just having electricity is a luxury.

We sometimes spend several weeks in a mountain cabin, with the luxury of electricity, but without running water. Then I wash clothes by hand. That is a lot of work and a lot of water to carry. Washing up by hand every day also requires quite some time. That's OK when you are on holiday and have the time, but during a normal working day, this would be challenging. We have a refrigerator, but the freezer is broken. This is already quite inconvenient, even for a place where we don't stay for a long time when visiting.

I sometimes think about cancelling the electricity in our hut, because it costs a lot to have it, even if we use very little. But that means that all heating must come from the wood stove. Rooms like bathroom and lo would be very would. No electric vent on the dry toilet. Needing to lit a candle when getting up in the dark. No options to load our phones. No TV. Managing has bottles for stove and refrigerator.

We who lived for a few decades also notice the big difference between today and our childhood. Just the convenience of having a mobile phone, almost all information in the world available on the internet, and now even on that same phone. That is totally incredible, compared to even a few decades ago.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on May 12, 2017, 10:13:50 PM
"Would you rather live a life at the top of the world, or wherever you are now?"

Uh, I don't know, top of the world doesn't sound, you know, bad.

"Oh, but what if that world doesn't have air conditioning?"

I don't... I don't actually care. I could buy an island in a more temperate area probably. I also wouldn't notice the missing air conditioning.

"What about no antibiotics?"

I mean, by this logic, we shouldn't want to live today because nanobots will eventually clear all our illnesses for us.

"You're three years away from a fridge!"

So whiskey and fresh meat until 1918.

Obviously no one had depression or bipolar disorder in 1915. Even shellshock was considered a myth by many. Plus, radiation would make you super strong, and could even be used to shave! You would live long enough to see the air-conditioned lawnmower prototype and the belly-shaker exercize device (but you would miss shakeweights, unfortunately). But birth control? Probably not Rockefeller's problem.

Biggest bump not yet considered: you could prove once and for all that the past was not limited to black, gray, and sepia, historical documents be damned!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: zolotiyeruki on May 15, 2017, 09:15:14 AM
Do I get to take my 2017 knowledge with me?  Because I'd go back to 1917 and invent air conditioning.  Or, since I have (effectively) limitless money, I'd ship tons and tons and tons of ice to keep me cool in the summer.  I'd pay people to keep my house spotlessly clean.  Sure, modern medicine is a long way from where it was in 1917, but we also have learned a lot about how to prevent illness.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: dude on May 15, 2017, 10:53:33 AM
I'd take the 1916 bargain.  The world was so much bigger then and full of mystery.  My god, to think of seeing large swaths of the world in their pristine state way back then!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: I'm a red panda on May 15, 2017, 11:04:32 AM
I'd go with billionaire. I've seen some of the gilded age mansions. I could handle no air conditioning living in those. And my servants would take care of all the chores I have machines for now. and who cares there is no refrigeration? I have money to eat fresh.  I can afford to travel so I'd likely have a country summer home and then come to the city in the winter to stay warmer. Or maybe travel to somewhere exotic and more temperate.

I wouldn't want to be average right now. But I'm pretty happy sitting where I am.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: NeonPegasus on May 15, 2017, 11:11:59 AM
I'm a woman. Is there any question what time I'd prefer?

That reminds me of a podcast where Paula Pant (Nepalese woman) was speaking with the Stacking Benjamins crew (I'm assuming all white men) about what time in history they'd prefer to live, with money being a factor. The men all gave their answers for different eras, some quite a long time ago, and then it came to Paula. She said something like, I'm a brown woman and there's never been a better time in history for people like me. Well put, Paula. Well put.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: my2c+61 on May 20, 2017, 04:19:45 AM
I'd take the 1916 bargain.  The world was so much bigger then and full of mystery.  My god, to think of seeing large swaths of the world in their pristine state way back then!

I am with dude on this one.

Also I am far from average, so billionaire it is.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: I'm a red panda on May 24, 2017, 09:45:30 AM
great article. I like the life I live so I guess I'll choose to stay at present

Is  the life you live that of an average American?  I don't think most people on this forum are.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: bridget on May 24, 2017, 11:00:14 AM
I'm a woman. Is there any question what time I'd prefer?

That reminds me of a podcast where Paula Pant (Nepalese woman) was speaking with the Stacking Benjamins crew (I'm assuming all white men) about what time in history they'd prefer to live, with money being a factor. The men all gave their answers for different eras, some quite a long time ago, and then it came to Paula. She said something like, I'm a brown woman and there's never been a better time in history for people like me. Well put, Paula. Well put.

As a friend of mine likes to say - "time travel is a white man's game."  I agree with you - today is a significantly better day to be alive as a woman compared to pretty much any previous time in history.  I like voting, owning my own property, having an education, and generally being in charge of my own life.

If the prompt were different - would I rather be a 1916 billionaire (or probably more accurately, billionaire's wife or daughter) or a woman in abject poverty today (vulnerable to abuse and sexual exploitation), I might consider the billionaire.  But average American woman?  No brainer.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: vern on May 24, 2017, 05:35:10 PM
(http://dl9fvu4r30qs1.cloudfront.net/56/b5/bbe632cd4dc49468ec0c70da3443/there-will-be-blood.jpg)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: steviesterno on May 25, 2017, 10:32:03 AM
i would take some slow ass transportation to italy, buy a down town party house and a country estate. They have wine there, and salty meats. I could live indefinitely without the internet. I'll nap and ride one of those lopsided bicycles for amusement.

Done.

where do I sign up?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: marble_faun on May 25, 2017, 10:56:59 AM
1916 billionaire in a heartbeat.

Having tons of money could make a lot of the potential problems go away, and if you you chose, you could use your vast resources to attack political inequalities faced by your demographic.

Like yeah, women couldn't vote... but a well-connected lady-billionaire would wield a lot more actual power and influence than a poor white man at the time. You could join the women's suffrage movement, like Alva Vanderbilt!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on June 23, 2017, 08:24:54 PM
Today, hands down.

Shocked how many people would go back then.  No thanks. The world today is AMAZING.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: marty998 on June 23, 2017, 08:35:23 PM
1916 billionaire in a heartbeat.

Having tons of money could make a lot of the potential problems go away, and if you you chose, you could use your vast resources to attack political inequalities faced by your demographic.

Like yeah, women couldn't vote... but a well-connected lady-billionaire would wield a lot more actual power and influence than a poor white man at the time. You could join the women's suffrage movement, like Alva Vanderbilt!

Women could vote in Australia by 1916.

It was not a great time to be a man though - high chance of being conscripted into WW1
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on June 23, 2017, 09:40:51 PM
1916 billionaire in a heartbeat.

Having tons of money could make a lot of the potential problems go away, and if you you chose, you could use your vast resources to attack political inequalities faced by your demographic.

Like yeah, women couldn't vote... but a well-connected lady-billionaire would wield a lot more actual power and influence than a poor white man at the time. You could join the women's suffrage movement, like Alva Vanderbilt!

Women could vote in Australia by 1916.

It was not a great time to be a man though - high chance of being conscripted into WW1

I would guess zero billionaires got conscripted.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: One Noisy Cat on June 24, 2017, 07:32:37 PM
Today
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: ysette9 on June 24, 2017, 09:30:57 PM
One more vote in the camp of "woman therefore today over any other time in history, no matter how priviledged". I like the expression that time travel is a white man's game. Very true.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: AlanStache on June 28, 2017, 08:32:57 AM
I would totally take the chance to go be some Steampunk-Tony Stark; but yeah I am a heterosexual white man. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: skeeder on June 28, 2017, 08:49:54 AM
I think billionaire back then would be more fun.  Even if things are a little wonky...Most of the things you mention can be handled by manual labor.  Personal butler, personal chef, etc. 

Basically, you'd be a 1% forever if you invested correctly.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on June 28, 2017, 09:06:41 AM
Most of the things you mention can be handled by manual labor.  Personal butler, personal chef, etc. 

Most are things not available.

The internet, foreign foods, quick travel anywhere in the world.

Basically, you'd be a 1% forever if you invested correctly.

A 1%er in a much worse time to live.

If Billionaire in 1916 was off the table, but you could be a 1%er in the year 1000 A.D., would you take that?  Say, the richest merchant in the country?

I sure as heck wouldn't.

If you would, what about a 1%er in, say, 2000 BC?  The richest man of the richest tribe in the country (if countries existed).

You say "you'd be a 1% forever"... but who cares?  That's relative to everyone else.  I'd rather take absolutely better, but relatively worse, than absolutely worse, but relatively better.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Inaya on June 28, 2017, 09:25:47 AM
Today. I have chosen to have a career. I chose to marry. I chose the man I married. I have chosen not to have children. I can vote. I don't need my husband's permission for anything. My wealth is in my name, not my husband's. My husband chose to take my last name.

All largely unheard of, if not impossible, in 1916.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: dividendman on June 28, 2017, 01:35:07 PM
I think billionaire back then would be more fun.  Even if things are a little wonky...Most of the things you mention can be handled by manual labor.  Personal butler, personal chef, etc. 

Basically, you'd be a 1% forever if you invested correctly.

You can't butler away a Spanish flu pandemic or polio.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: letired on June 28, 2017, 02:27:25 PM
+1 lady, never a better time to be alive. Even billionaire's wives or daughters would face an uphill battle for anywhere near the amount of freedom I have today. Do I romanticize the hell out of the beautiful things produced in the past? yes. But freedom is everything.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on June 28, 2017, 04:29:58 PM
A 1%er in a much worse time to live.

If Billionaire in 1916 was off the table, but you could be a 1%er in the year 1000 A.D., would you take that?  Say, the richest merchant in the country?

I sure as heck wouldn't.

If you would, what about a 1%er in, say, 2000 BC?  The richest man of the richest tribe in the country (if countries existed).

You say "you'd be a 1% forever"... but who cares?  That's relative to everyone else.  I'd rather take absolutely better, but relatively worse, than absolutely worse, but relatively better.

Many ancient Greeks had surgical medicine we only recently discovered, lived very long lives, had access to chemicals we never completely figured out, created unbelievable works of art we don't really value if they're made today, and served as the birthplace of much of the foundation of western thinking in a collaborative democracy (the likes of which is nearly unmatched in longevity). Homeric myths were probably being generated around that time.

I'm too fascinated by history to write off all of the past as objectively worse to live in. Seeing Michelangelo work or chatting with Socrates or seeing the Colossus or a Shakespearean play would be incredible, and you wouldn't need future knowledge to know it when you were there.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: deborah on June 28, 2017, 04:49:07 PM
Move to Australia - women could vote here in 1916 - in fact they could get elected... Want to be Prime Minister as well?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on June 29, 2017, 12:06:16 PM
I'm too fascinated by history to write off all of the past as objectively worse to live in.

We glorify history.

In 100 years, no one will be talking about the millions of children starving and dying when they talk about the history of 2017.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: AlanStache on June 29, 2017, 12:59:01 PM
I'm too fascinated by history to write off all of the past as objectively worse to live in.

We glorify history.

In 100 years, no one will be talking about the millions of children starving and dying when they talk about the history of 2017.

Maybe.  I am not sure.  Now we have lots of pictures of the starving that can be used to make good narratives along with average peoples documented experience in the suffering.  We have countless Ann Franks FB Walls to humanize the suffering.  This may not be getting us in 2017 to stop the death but it will be available (probably) to future historians. 

On the other hand we are now in the middle of a seismic shift in human history to a time where everyone in the world can have instant communication and machines will/may out think us.  Or civilization will implode.  So the suffering of our time might get overshadowed.

Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on June 29, 2017, 03:58:42 PM
I'm too fascinated by history to write off all of the past as objectively worse to live in.

We glorify history.

In 100 years, no one will be talking about the millions of children starving and dying when they talk about the history of 2017.

We glorify everything. We glorify the future infinitely. We glorify what we like, and even much of that we don't, the moment we can't reach it. We glorify what we like in the present, too (that's basically the self-serving bias).

There isn't a period in history at all which wasn't a total hell for the entire lives of some group somewhere. As only one person, I find it easy to imagine a period where I and most of those I knew would have had pretty amazing lives (you're not in that group if you're a top 1% unless it's during a coup), and as a billionaire, I could do overwhelmingly more to help those whose lives weren't so great.

Wouldn't you read a novel about a person who took the deal and sponsored a young artist in Germany in 1908?
What about the novel where you discover belatedly that Tesla was a guy who actually had taken the deal? /eeriemusic

And whether you agree that the deal allows you to change time or not, we can forget today, on the cutting edge of Presentland, that the same euphoria we may feel about revolutionizing technology all the time was a euphoria they experienced throughout the 20th century, too. Objectively better lives are hard to measure, because happiness over time (or the fulfillment inherent in a life) is not revolutionized so easily as technology, nor do I assume modern technology is synonymous with happiness.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: bridget on June 29, 2017, 06:50:29 PM
Another practical impediment I always think about re: time travel - wouldn't I be even worse off in terms of diseases than the [historical] natives?  Diseases mutate super quickly; the immunities I've built up in my lifetime are to totally different variants of diseases.  I'd be as vulnerable to the germs of historyland as Native Americans were during the Colombian exchange.  All the fascination in the world doesn't matter much if I catch tuberculosis and keel over.

That's not to mention the fact that I'm totally not immune to diseases that have been so eradicated in the modern world that I haven't had any exposure or vaccination at all (polio, smallpox). 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Paul der Krake on June 29, 2017, 07:12:26 PM
Do I get to improve? Or am I stuck in the incredibly unhealthy body of the average American no matter how much I exercise?

Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Leisured on July 06, 2017, 05:57:01 AM
I prefer to be a part of the idle rich in 1916, rather than someone of average income today. In 1916 there was steam ship and rail transport almost anywhere in the world, electric power, telephones. Medicine was not bad, infection was understood and primitive anesthetics were available.

I see myself living in east coast America or Canada for the northern summer, then travel to Argentina for the southern summer, and then back again. If I lived in northern Europe, I would winter in the south of France, or Italy, or in South Africa. WW1 was raging in 1916, so a better year would be 1913 or 1919.

I agree that being a rich man 1000 years ago, or 2000 years ago, would be much less attractive. Medicine was much less advanced, and travel to other countries was not easy.

Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: aceyou on July 10, 2017, 05:14:47 AM
Rockefeller 97
Carnegie 84
Henry Cabot Lodge 74
Henry Ford 84

Doesn't look like modern medicine is a huge benefit over billionaires in the earlier time period.  You may still choose to live today, but not sure that should be why.  They seemed to live as long or longer than an average American does today.  I formed this opinion by quickly googling 4 rich dead white dudes, so you can be pretty certain I'm right about this:) 

I think I'm taking billionaire in 1916.  A lot of the proposed awesomeness of living now is stuff that if we are being honest, the 'average' american doesn't enjoy.  Sure, we can travel the world on a time, but the average american can't afford to do it frequently and can't enjoy it with the same peace of mind.  The average american has to work all year round, whereas the billionaire in 1916 is FI ten thousand times over.  infinite time do pursue your own interests trumps anything new gadget listed in this thread of the average american today. 

The kicker for me is the ability to pull the levers of society in ways that you want.  The coolest part of being Elon Musk or Bill Gates isn't their ability to drink $10,000 bottles of wine, or travel quickly around the world.  It's their ability to influence the world.  Ford and Lodge and Rockefeller and Carnegie had the ability to push history in a different direction.  What a fascinating opportunity..way cooler than internet IMO. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Caoineag on July 10, 2017, 07:33:23 AM
As an outspoken, extremely unconventional woman, today, hands down. I have read historical romance novels and even though I enjoy them, I always think to myself I would be in trouble in another era. Even in this time period, I would be leery of being born into a couple of the other predominant cultures so no thank you.

Not to mention, I am only alive today due to modern medicine. I would not have survived my childhood without it. I love to travel, I love to learn and I like my modern toys.

Now if the choice is now or in the future, I would probably choose the future since they will have even more advances and neat things to check out. Hopefully they will make some social progress as well.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: AlanStache on July 10, 2017, 09:42:20 AM
Rockefeller 97
Carnegie 84
Henry Cabot Lodge 74
Henry Ford 84
...

Human maximum life span has changed relatively little in modern times.  It is just ever more people are getting into the higher numbers than in ye olden times.  The average age of death might be increasing but the limit - not so much.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on July 10, 2017, 10:37:47 AM
I'm so shocked at the number choosing billionaire.

On a site where most people get that more money does not equal more happiness.

Funny.  :)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on July 10, 2017, 11:22:37 AM
If the comparison were a 75k salary modern American 20-something with no debt vs the billionaire, the billionaire might just be "more money" on the utility-of-money scale (with its diminishing returns).

But the average American is in debt, which is not just less money, it's money working against you.

Money doesn't buy happiness, but debt can buy a whole lot of sadness.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: WoodStache on July 10, 2017, 12:18:02 PM
I'm so shocked at the number choosing billionaire.

On a site where most people get that more money does not equal more happiness.

Funny.  :)

My first instinct was billionaire, for both the spending and the amount of impact you could make for generations to come. But I'm admittedly less mustachian than most here.

But then yours and other posts got me thinking. If it's just the idea of having servants do all of these chores for you, could you not choose today and just move to a central/south american or asian country with a drastically lower cost of living? Like I said, billionaire was my first instinct, too, but you could have all the paid help you want AND internet/flights/modern medicine, etc.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: AlanStache on July 10, 2017, 01:14:21 PM
I'm so shocked at the number choosing billionaire.

On a site where most people get that more money does not equal more happiness.

Funny.  :)

Is this an absolute?  I tend to think of this as a diminishing returns curve, where the difference in happiness between 1 million and 1.25 million is comparatively small but 1 billion is way the fuck at the end of the curve.  Add into that some sense of adventure for a different world. 

Also I think some of this site is about seeing the cost benefit trade off of higher spending and longer career vs lower spending and shorter career.  Retiring with 0.5 million less might cost me some small happiness but retiring 5 years earlier will more than make up for it in terms of sum total of life time happiness. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on July 10, 2017, 02:42:32 PM
I'm so shocked at the number choosing billionaire.

On a site where most people get that more money does not equal more happiness.

Funny.  :)


I don't believe that more money equals more happiness . . . but think it would be fun to be a billionaire a hundred years ago.  I can easily see where it would be a great life for many white guys in decent health.  The stuff that would ruin it for me personally basically comes down to worse quality glasses, a dearth of good sci-fi, and social unacceptability of me being married to a Chinese woman (and having a mixed race kid).
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on July 10, 2017, 04:29:29 PM
I'm so shocked at the number choosing billionaire.

On a site where most people get that more money does not equal more happiness.

Funny.  :)

Is this an absolute?  I tend to think of this as a diminishing returns curve, where the difference in happiness between 1 million and 1.25 million is comparatively small but 1 billion is way the fuck at the end of the curve. 

But way out at the end, because it mostly flattens, is barely different. Probably 1MM to 10MM back then is the same growth difference on the curve as 10MM to billions. I.e. not much difference at all.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: rdaneel0 on July 10, 2017, 04:51:27 PM
Average American today, no question.
-A lady
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Cassie on July 10, 2017, 05:08:51 PM
Interesting article.  I think I prefer now. As a woman that was very fertile when young without birth control that was reliable I probably would have had a million kids-ugh!   I love my boys but also loved controlling my family size. Even if I was rich my husband would get to boss me around, no chance for a career, etc-no thanks.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: aceyou on July 10, 2017, 06:51:36 PM
I'm so shocked at the number choosing billionaire.

On a site where most people get that more money does not equal more happiness.

Funny.  :)

If there was a third option where I could have been carnegie and just quit after I got a million or two, then I'd have taken it!!!  But given the two choices, I values freedom and the ability to make an impact, and I believe I'd have more of both as a billionaire in 1916 than as an average american today. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: ender on July 11, 2017, 06:03:46 AM
I am happy with my life now.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Ichabod on July 11, 2017, 07:52:28 AM
A rational part of me says pick the average American, because he has the objectively better life, but a niggling part of me wonders wouldn't it be awesome to be a .001%er.

But this exercise reminds me of Dan Ariely talking about how people would prefer a salary higher than their coworkers rather than an overall higher salary that is less than their coworkers. I.e. People would rather make $90k in a company where most people make $80k, than $100k where most people make $110k.

This plays into our politics too. Do we just worry about raising our floor? Or do we worry about the gap between the floor and the ceiling? Both perspectives have some validity. I want the poor to eat, but I care less if they can watch cable TV. But there's also a sense of injustice that some receive outsized rewards from society compared to what they put into it.

Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Leisured on July 18, 2017, 08:39:45 AM
I'm so shocked at the number choosing billionaire.

On a site where most people get that more money does not equal more happiness.

Funny.  :)

If there was a third option where I could have been carnegie and just quit after I got a million or two, then I'd have taken it!!!  But given the two choices, I values freedom and the ability to make an impact, and I believe I'd have more of both as a billionaire in 1916 than as an average american today.

+1. 

I assume I would inherit an enormous sum when I turned 21 in 1916. Cost of living, in real terms, was much higher in 1916 than it is now, that is, an average worker would need to work much longer to get the food and accommodation he would get today. Being rich eliminates that problem. Same applies to transport. Moving from steam ship to steam train needs money.

Being very rich allows me to make an impact, to quote aceyou. I would put a large part of my fortune into a tax free charity, and donate to worthy causes. A Mustachian today cannot compete with huge inherited wealth when it comes to philanthropy.

Some female Mustchians have mentioned the lack of female suffrage in 1916. I am a man, and from what I have seen in political opinion polls, upper class women vote much the same as upper class men, middle class women vote much the same as middle class men, and working class women vote much the same as working class men. Female suffrage means we double the number of votes cast for much the same political outcome.

The main difference I see for the rich today compared to the rich a century ago is much improved medial treatment.

Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: AlanStache on July 18, 2017, 10:01:51 AM
Quote from: Leisured
...
Some female Mustchians have mentioned the lack of female suffrage in 1916. I am a man, and from what I have seen in political opinion polls, upper class women vote much the same as upper class men, middle class women vote much the same as middle class men, and working class women vote much the same as working class men. Female suffrage means we double the number of votes cast for much the same political outcome.


(https://media.giphy.com/media/65os7odbIW6pa/giphy.gif)

edit: corrected citation in quote.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on July 18, 2017, 10:19:31 AM
Children had about a 15% chance of dying before reaching age 5 in the early 20th century. Maternal death risks were also much higher.  Most families experienced the pain of losing a child or mother or father.  The rich were not immune to this.

So part of the deal for going back as a billionaire should include a 15% chance that you die on arrival, and a 15% chance that each of your kids die, etc.

I'll take the present thank you very much! Already know I wouldn't have survived a bout of meningitis when I was a kid without modern medicine.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Cranky on July 20, 2017, 02:34:08 PM
I don't think you would miss the internet or cable tv if you'd never had it. LOL

Honestly, my grandparents got married in 1920. They were prosperous, but not billionaires, by far. They had someone who came to the house to do the laundry, they had a full time gardener, they had a car (and by the time my mother was born, they had two, because my grandmother had her own car.) They had electricity, and a furnace, and they went to the dentist. They took vacations.

I think some people are confusing 1916 with 1816...

Now, my dad's family was really poor, and it was certainly a crappy time to be poor.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: stoaX on July 20, 2017, 02:54:44 PM
I choose today because if I chose 1916 I'd be dead now.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Linda_Norway on August 07, 2017, 05:59:56 AM
I don't think you would miss the internet or cable tv if you'd never had it. LOL


I remember the days of not having internet. I really missed not having an encyclopedia at home, like so many other people had. :-)
And it was really difficult to find out stuff about other places, like gathering information about emigration to another country.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: talltexan on August 09, 2017, 02:21:11 PM
any year before end of WWI and SPanish Flu is a roll of the dice.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on August 09, 2017, 04:25:41 PM
I choose today because if I chose 1916 I'd be dead now.

Agreed - so would I.  Was a preemie baby so would have likely died then.  I've also had a heart attack, so that would have definitely finished me off in 1916.

Also, my daughter also had a difficult birth and that would have likely killed both her and her mother (my wife) at that time. 

So I'll take average American now vs billionaire in 1916 with me and my entire family dead.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: martyconlonontherun on September 12, 2017, 04:09:21 PM
That's basically 25 billion in today's dollar, ~50 richest people in the world. I would probably take that deal assuming my friendships transfer over (aka i actually grew up in that period and had a chance to make friends)

The biggest down side and risk is stubbing your toe* and getting an infection and dying at a young age.

*I'm using code for syphilis
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on September 12, 2017, 05:09:54 PM
*I'm using code for syphilis

Don't be ridiculous!

They cured syphilis already.

With the magic of modern science.

And arsenic.

We go easy on syphilis today.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on September 12, 2017, 06:14:49 PM
I'm so shocked at the number choosing billionaire.

On a site where most people get that more money does not equal more happiness.

Funny.  :)

Is this an absolute?  I tend to think of this as a diminishing returns curve, where the difference in happiness between 1 million and 1.25 million is comparatively small but 1 billion is way the fuck at the end of the curve.  Add into that some sense of adventure for a different world. 

Also I think some of this site is about seeing the cost benefit trade off of higher spending and longer career vs lower spending and shorter career.  Retiring with 0.5 million less might cost me some small happiness but retiring 5 years earlier will more than make up for it in terms of sum total of life time happiness.

The research suggests that, on average, American happiness increases with income up to about $75k. And since that's average over all Americans, we can also assume that $75k includes some ludicrously poor housing/car/consumerist financial decisions. The same average happiness level is probably attainable at a much smaller spending rate with some adjustments in how you think/stress about money. Billionaires are not, on average, happier than millionaires, who are not, on average, happier than people who just broke 6 figures.

http://www.pnas.org/content/107/38/16489.full

Anyway, I'm in the "prefer being female in a time I can vote/own property/get a formal education" camp. I also like antibiotics, refrigeration, birth control. (Has anyone looked up the maternal mortality rates back then? Yikes.) I'm betting the pickings for romantic partners would be slim too - probably not very many male first-wave feminists.

Some female Mustchians have mentioned the lack of female suffrage in 1916. I am a man, and from what I have seen in political opinion polls, upper class women vote much the same as upper class men, middle class women vote much the same as middle class men, and working class women vote much the same as working class men. Female suffrage means we double the number of votes cast for much the same political outcome.

My single vote now doesn't have a lot of impact either. The bigger problem is the prevailing cultural attitude about the validity of my opinions. Asking me to take more money in exchange for more sexism is not a very tempting offer.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: talltexan on September 13, 2017, 02:56:35 PM
I would wonder if a non-voting woman with $1billion could be influential through philanthropy.

Regular people vote, but billionaires can actually make political influence a line item in their household budgets.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on September 13, 2017, 05:54:20 PM
I would wonder if a non-voting woman with $1billion could be influential through philanthropy.

Regular people vote, but billionaires can actually make political influence a line item in their household budgets.

Probably. But again, for me, it's the cultural attitude that would be suffocating. I'm sure being a female billionaire got you a lot more deference than the average women, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't still have to put up with a lot of patronizing BS. And I cannot express how deeply unappealing it sounds to spend time among similarly-influential men who are amazed I can think and speak clearly despite my femaleness.

Having that much money could buy me out of being a housewife or spinster, could probably conjure a reasonably respectful inner circle, but it couldn't protect me from the natural assumptions of literally every single other person about my intellect or interests. And that sounds exhausting.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Fire2025 on September 13, 2017, 07:01:45 PM
I would wonder if a non-voting woman with $1billion could be influential through philanthropy.

Regular people vote, but billionaires can actually make political influence a line item in their household budgets.

Probably. But again, for me, it's the cultural attitude that would be suffocating. I'm sure being a female billionaire got you a lot more deference than the average women, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't still have to put up with a lot of patronizing BS. And I cannot express how deeply unappealing it sounds to spend time among similarly-influential men who are amazed I can think and speak clearly despite my femaleness.

Having that much money could buy me out of being a housewife or spinster, could probably conjure a reasonably respectful inner circle, but it couldn't protect me from the natural assumptions of literally every single other person about my intellect or interests. And that sounds exhausting.

This times 1000.  Men could beat and rape their wives, legally.  Enough said.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: AlanStache on September 13, 2017, 07:09:18 PM
I would wonder if a non-voting woman with $1billion could be influential through philanthropy.

Regular people vote, but billionaires can actually make political influence a line item in their household budgets.

Probably. But again, for me, it's the cultural attitude that would be suffocating. I'm sure being a female billionaire got you a lot more deference than the average women, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't still have to put up with a lot of patronizing BS. And I cannot express how deeply unappealing it sounds to spend time among similarly-influential men who are amazed I can think and speak clearly despite my femaleness.

Having that much money could buy me out of being a housewife or spinster, could probably conjure a reasonably respectful inner circle, but it couldn't protect me from the natural assumptions of literally every single other person about my intellect or interests. And that sounds exhausting.

Yes I have been going back and forth along these lines.  On the one hand it would be a great adventure and I could fund some good causes.  On the other I would be surrounded by racists & sexists and over time might slide into there ways.  I have been rereading a 20 year old book and even over that 'short' time semi-sexist phrases are pooping out. 

A billionaire in 1916 could literally have started there own country and made whatever laws they wanted. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on September 13, 2017, 08:01:06 PM
Patronizing BS? Similarly influential men?

Who could patronize you? Your only peer at that wealth at that time would have been Rockefeller.

You really could imagine any historical divergence you care to imagine in this scenario.

You wouldn't have a big house and a nice car. You would own something like 1% of the US economy. If your goal were to flip sexism on its head, you'd have unprecedented clout with which to do it.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 13, 2017, 08:06:49 PM
Patronizing BS? Similarly influential men?

Who could patronize you? Your only peer at that wealth at that time would have been Rockefeller.

There would be plenty of men who would be patronizing to you even if you had 1000x their wealth. They'd still think the bits between their legs made them better.

And they wouldn't be rare. Cause there's plenty of those today, too. A century ago?  Gimmie a break.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on September 13, 2017, 08:36:21 PM
This was a world prepared to believe we would cure, like, every disease. This was shortly before the era when Rosy the Riveter would completely upend the "man works, woman stays at home" paridigm. This was an era that revered Rockefeller and Carnegie like so many revere Steve Jobs today.

Sexism is an insecurity-fueled power-politic. Barely imaginable wealth has a power-politic of its own.

It would be a gross miscalculation to suggest you simply wouldn't encounter sexism.

It would also be a gross miscalculation to suggest you would be easily and summarily marginalized while controlling 1% of the US economy.

Give me a break. :p
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 13, 2017, 08:40:11 PM
It's easy to dismiss from a position of privilege.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on September 13, 2017, 08:46:54 PM
It's easy to dismiss from a position of privilege.

Exactly. To dismiss for better or worse. In the case of sexism, it could certainly take some dismissing from the unequaled heroine avatar of outrageous success. Why can't we imagine the woman with a billion dollars in alternate-reality 1916 overcame all the things we're afraid she'd have a hard time overcoming, knows it damn well, and enjoys being a legend in her own time and for as long as history remembers? She must have overcome something incredible, right? No one could give her such an inheritance.

In this totally hypothetical historical fantasy, you really have a lot of room to imagine manipulating one billion advantages however you want.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on September 13, 2017, 09:10:41 PM
I'm sorry, but 100 years ago the world sucked:

(https://www.52-insights.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/World-as-100-people-2-centuries-11-1494x1024.png)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 13, 2017, 10:01:02 PM
I'm sorry, but 100 years ago the world sucked

Sure, but you're a billionaire in this hypothetical.  Sucks for everyone else though.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: potm on September 13, 2017, 10:13:45 PM
What's average American? In massive debt, stuck working a job I hate for the rest of my life?
I'll take the billionaire 100 years ago.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on September 13, 2017, 10:21:20 PM
I'm sorry, but 100 years ago the world sucked

Sure, but you're a billionaire in this hypothetical.  Sucks for everyone else though.

True.  But I'd also be a dead billionaire since I've been saved by modern medicine twice (at birth and later with a heart attack).
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: trashmanz on September 13, 2017, 10:27:13 PM
If you are not a white man, its quite possible you might even be assassinated post haste. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on September 13, 2017, 11:31:03 PM
It would be a gross miscalculation to suggest you simply wouldn't encounter sexism.

It would also be a gross miscalculation to suggest you would be easily and summarily marginalized while controlling 1% of the US economy.

I didn't deny such a woman would be powerful. I said it would be exhausting.

Maybe there IS a lady out there who would want to be known as a legend at that time for overcoming all the obstacles, but it isn't me. I prefer having the legal grounds to demand equal treatment (without having to buy it). I prefer to believe the majority of people I encounter don't immediately pigeonhole me as a member of the "weaker" sex. Sure, I could throw all kinds of money into women's suffrage, maybe get some other civil rights gains sooner, but I am just not interested in refighting those battles. Maybe it feels like a hero's adventure to rescue other people from such mistreatment, but having to struggle to be treated with basic decency - no matter how much power I'm given in that struggle - does not sound like a thrilling game to me. The sexism that still exists in the modern world is depressing enough.

And the thread asked whether I'd want to do it. The answer is no. That's all there is to it.

(Also, again: I feel like we're really underappreciating antibiotics here.)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 14, 2017, 12:20:19 AM
Interestingly, the richest woman in the world to date at that time, Hetty Green (aka the "Witch of Wall Street") died in 1916 with an estimated 100MM in assets. 10x less than this post.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/09/hetty-green-witch-wall-street.asp

I enjoyed her biography:
Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon (https://smile.amazon.com/Hetty-Genius-Madness-Americas-Female/dp/0060542578?sa-no-redirect=1)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 14, 2017, 10:53:25 AM
As a billionaire today, with the basic knowledge you've got about stuff I think you could push a lot of the technological advances that weren't currently there.  Like get a bunch of folks together and pay 'em to study mold as a way of curing diseases.  You would likely have working antibiotics in a couple years.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on September 14, 2017, 01:01:11 PM
As a billionaire today, with the basic knowledge you've got about stuff I think you could push a lot of the technological advances that weren't currently there.  Like get a bunch of folks together and pay 'em to study mold as a way of curing diseases.  You would likely have working antibiotics in a couple years.

That's true. As long as you don't contract any infections in those couple years!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Optimiser on September 14, 2017, 01:39:16 PM
As a billionaire today, with the basic knowledge you've got about stuff I think you could push a lot of the technological advances that weren't currently there.  Like get a bunch of folks together and pay 'em to study mold as a way of curing diseases.  You would likely have working antibiotics in a couple years.

Whether or not you have knowledge of the 21st century certainly changes the scenario.

You would not only be one of the wealthiest people in the world, but you could also base your decisions on knowledge of future events. Of course then you would end up reshaping the future and your knowledge would no longer be accurate...

edited for grammar
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: stoaX on September 14, 2017, 01:44:15 PM
As a billionaire today, with the basic knowledge you've got about stuff I think you could push a lot of the technological advances that weren't currently there.  Like get a bunch of folks together and pay 'em to study mold as a way of curing diseases.  You would likely have working antibiotics in a couple years.

Whether or not you have knowledge of the 21st century certainly changes the scenario.

You would not only be one of the wealthiest people in the world, but you could also base your decisions on knowledge of future events. Of course then you would end up reshaping the future and your knowledge would not longer accurate...

That makes my head spin...and it hurts just to think about it!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 14, 2017, 02:30:33 PM
As a billionaire today, with the basic knowledge you've got about stuff I think you could push a lot of the technological advances that weren't currently there.  Like get a bunch of folks together and pay 'em to study mold as a way of curing diseases.  You would likely have working antibiotics in a couple years.

Whether or not you have knowledge of the 21st century certainly changes the scenario.

You would not only be one of the wealthiest people in the world, but you could also base your decisions on knowledge of future events. Of course then you would end up reshaping the future and your knowledge would no longer be accurate...

edited for grammar

The beauty of this is that for most stuff you don't need to know many details.  You might change the history of who invents penicillin, but you wouldn't change the basic fact that it came from researching mold.  Changing the past might make some of your memories inaccurate, but only the useless people/dates . . . not the important 'HOW'.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Optimiser on September 14, 2017, 02:37:32 PM
As a billionaire today, with the basic knowledge you've got about stuff I think you could push a lot of the technological advances that weren't currently there.  Like get a bunch of folks together and pay 'em to study mold as a way of curing diseases.  You would likely have working antibiotics in a couple years.

Whether or not you have knowledge of the 21st century certainly changes the scenario.

You would not only be one of the wealthiest people in the world, but you could also base your decisions on knowledge of future events. Of course then you would end up reshaping the future and your knowledge would no longer be accurate...

edited for grammar

The beauty of this is that for most stuff you don't need to know many details.  You might change the history of who invents penicillin, but you wouldn't change the basic fact that it came from researching mold.  Changing the past might make some of your memories inaccurate, but only the useless people/dates . . . not the important 'HOW'.

Good point. I was thinking about things like I might want to get out the stock market before 1929 so I can stay a billionaire, but maybe someone who's life was saved by penicillin ended up getting elected president and passed legislation that prevented the great depression.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on September 14, 2017, 02:43:22 PM
How I parse time-twisting questions:

Q: Can you change the future?
A: Does the question make you a historical person? If it asks if you to "live Rockefeller's life as him," then presumably the future remains intact. If you get to insert an alternate past where you and/or other scenarios exist, you can change the future, and you already have.

Q: Can you go back with present knowledge?
A: If unspecified, yes, but it has to change your hypothetical if you do! You may miss air conditioning if you remember it. You can also advance research and possibly make bets on major events shortly after your appearance (but probably not long after). But what would you bet on if you had a billion dollars already? You may not be as satisfied simply accelerating the past as you think, either - if the future is what you want, you're already here! If fame is what you want, though, that's an easy boost to it.

Q: How stable is my knowledge?
A: Science facts? Stable. History facts? Very unstable. All your history is of probabilities chosen - everything you do ripples, and the bigger you are and the more you do, the more it ripples. If you want to stop Hitler, you might do it accidentally from 1916. You probably wouldn't do it in 1942. But, any major effect you have on anything would change everything after it too much for your knowledge to still apply. GuitarSTV summarized something similar.

Q: Are you ever born?
A: Sure. Otherwise, this is no fun. The future where you were born no longer exists in your current timeline, though. You can't ever meet yourself. /sadfaces
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on September 14, 2017, 05:35:56 PM
The problem with changing the past for the better is that we (as a society) only learn our lessons and advance when something shitty happens.  If you prevent things like the depression or the various wars, I believe we'd be in a much worse place, now.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 14, 2017, 05:58:43 PM
The problem with changing the past for the better is that we (as a society) only learn our lessons and advance when something shitty happens.  If you prevent things like the depression or the various wars, I believe we'd be in a much worse place, now.

Not sure I agree with that as a philosophy. That means you'd be arguing it's better that the holocaust happened. And it's better Trump was elected.

And, hell, it'd be better if we had WWIII tomorrow, so we can learn lessons and advance.

You'd be arguing for brutal and terrible things all the time.

I think we'd be in a much better place if the dark ages never happened.

I agree that we can advance and learn after terrible things, but I don't think they're a necessary (nor sufficient--we often don't learn from them, see e.g. Vietnam war) condition (we can learn without terrible things).
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on September 14, 2017, 07:14:45 PM
It took the horrors of WWII (including the holocaust) to disabuse Europe's nation states of expansionist tendencies which were instrumental in the rise of fascism. I'm not convinced the lesson would have been learned without the trauma. (A good case could be made that America still hasn't fully learned since the war was somewhat removed). It's terrifying to think of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy rising up after the advent of atomic weapons (and scary how close the Germans were to developing the bomb before VE day). And the UK (and others) relinquished control of their colonies after the war. Again not convinced that this would have happened otherwise.

So although I agree that we shouldn't seek out calamities, I do think these have shaped society in important ways. If WWII hadn't happened when it did then we *may* have experienced a much worse calamity later on. I think it's really unknowable.

Regarding Trump, not a fan and thankful we have division of power, but he may stumble along for 4 years while bringing the crazies out of the woodworks from both sides (e.g. neo-Nazis and antifa), which might create an opening for third party or a moderate that appeals across the partisan divide. Perhaps I'm too much an optimist, but I think it's possible.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 14, 2017, 07:33:21 PM
It took the horrors of WWII (including the holocaust) to disabuse Europe's nation states of expansionist tendencies which were instrumental in the rise of fascism. I'm not convinced the lesson would have been learned without the trauma. (A good case could be made that America still hasn't fully learned since the war was somewhat removed).

Given Russia's recent actions (and the fact that they suffered more than any other country in the second world war), I'm not entirely sure that you can argue that there was any great lesson against expansionist tendencies.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 14, 2017, 07:38:23 PM


So although I agree that we shouldn't seek out calamities, I do think these have shaped society in important ways. If WWII hadn't happened when it did then we *may* have experienced a much worse calamity later on. I think it's really unknowable.

I agree they shaped society in important ways. And I agree it's unknowable what would have happened otherwise.

But to say we need those type of tragedies to improve implies:
1) they're necessary, and you can't improve without
2) they're good

I don't agree with either.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on September 14, 2017, 07:51:41 PM
It took the horrors of WWII (including the holocaust) to disabuse Europe's nation states of expansionist tendencies which were instrumental in the rise of fascism. I'm not convinced the lesson would have been learned without the trauma. (A good case could be made that America still hasn't fully learned since the war was somewhat removed).

Given Russia's recent actions (and the fact that they suffered more than any other country in the second world war), I'm not entirely sure that you can argue that there was any great lesson against expansionist tendencies.

Yet EU certainly came away from the war with the lesson learned. I'm arguing that it was a necessary factor but not sufficient. Russia seems to have come away instead with a deep mistrust of the West, somewhat justified given that they were invaded from the West twice within the span of a little over 100 years. That they've more-or-less been headed by authoritarian governments resulted in lack of transparency in the media and a people without much say in government affairs, which I think is a factor in why Russia still doesn't get it.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on September 14, 2017, 08:15:26 PM


So although I agree that we shouldn't seek out calamities, I do think these have shaped society in important ways. If WWII hadn't happened when it did then we *may* have experienced a much worse calamity later on. I think it's really unknowable.

I agree they shaped society in important ways. And I agree it's unknowable what would have happened otherwise.

But to say we need those type of tragedies to improve implies:
1) they're necessary, and you can't improve without
2) they're good

I don't agree with either.

I agree that we can make progress w/o tragedies, but not in all cases, or at least there are cases where a tragedy is necessary to prevent an even larger tragedy. Was the US Civil War necessary and good? I don't think it's a simple answer. Given enough time the Confederacy may have given into abolition, but for how long and at what a cost to the generations that continued under slavery? The war itself wasn't "good" per se but the results, however incomplete, were progress.

Back to WWII: Was it good? The war itself, no, war is never good. But one could imagine a parallel universe where the fascists rose to power "peacefully," slowly enslaving their people while deliberately grinding out their genocidal plans within their borders, annexing sympathetic neighbors without triggering an international conflict, and then going full blow expansionist after they were much stronger. In many ways we are extremely lucky that Hitler was such a delusional lunatic that mistrusted his military leaders and foolishly opted to start a fight with two super powers on two fronts. In that sense WWII was good in that it was better than many of the other possible outcomes.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on September 14, 2017, 08:58:40 PM
I'm saying that the last hundred years has been a period of massive change, mostly for the better.  And that the bad things helped shape it as much as the good things.  I do feel that true wisdom tend to come from painful experiences.  Both for societies and for individuals.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on September 14, 2017, 09:06:39 PM
I'm with Arebelspy on WWII... I mean, what progress can we nail down as necessarily from it? Much cultural progress is temporary anyway, because culture is so transient. It's not even possible for a single person to fathom how much life was spent, lost, and stolen in horror after horror in that war.

So many western cultures believed they hit an advanced era, imploded along similar lines as previous cultures, believed they hit an advanced era...

With Hitler delayed a few years, he would have been sidelined by Parkinson's. The German military was not close to atomic weaponry, and they knew it. They got to heavy water and realized they'd win or lose before the weapon was ready. They had unstoppable tanks with no gas and bad transmissions and excellent tanks with no gas, that were as hopelessly outnumbered as their army (as any army ever fighting Russia). American and Russian military fantasy still dreams of re-enacting the war, and they recreationally do so through proxy conflicts since 1945.

Could I imagine a parallel universe where fascists rose to power differently and more sustainably? Sure, but since we're playing imagine-parallel-universes-the-game, I would overwhelmingly prefer to imagine no systematic extermination and no WWII, and it's pretty easy to imagine Himmler being killed after Hitler gets sidelined waiting just a few years (which is why he didn't wait a few more years, and probably a big reason Barbarossa was launched).

Also, expansionism isn't needed for fascism. It does just fine with isolationism, too.

I never understood arguing for the necessity of tragedy. It's not like tragedy needs help and won't happen all on its own.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on September 15, 2017, 01:15:49 AM
The germans were close to achieving the bomb: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/nazis-and-the-bomb.html With a little more time, and without the distraction of war and our related efforts to sabatoge their program, they would have succeeded. They were vastly outnumbered because Hitler was a blundering strategist. Had he died early of Parkinson's he would have been entombed and glorified, and Göring would have picked up the banner and carried on his ideology. Unlike Hitler, Göring had real military education and had a better grasp of military matters. If he had taken over, the world may be much worse off today. But yes, we could go round and round with what-ifs.

You don't think tragedy is necessary, but what about the US Civil War? Was that tragedy necessary? There are cases where tragedy is unavoidable, where these tragedies must play out before progress can be made. In a hypothetical utopian world where people are not selfish, bigoted, and small minded then yes, tragedy would never be necessary because groups of people behaving badly would voluntarily change and we could all move forward together in peace and progress. But that world doesn't exist. History is rife with examples of regimes and ideologies that could only be corrected through tragic means.

A few things that necessarily came out of WWII:
- As already mentioned, Europe finally started to unify and stop warring with one another. I would go as far as arguing that the European Union would not exist w/o WWII.
- The United Nations and resulting improvement in international relations. Who knows how many tragedies this alone has prevented.
- War Crimes Tribunals and the novel (at that time) idea of holding leaders accountable for crimes against humanity.
- An end to isolationism in the US and a determination around the globe that we can never let this happen again
- The Cold War (itself a tragedy) which was instrumental in bringing about: modern computers, space exploration, satellites, GPS, the internet. 

EDIT: What's striking about this [partial] list is that these are things that create the conditions we enjoy today, where in most cases we can avoid tragedy because we have the necessary tools such as the UN and war crimes tribunals and world governments that are willing to step up and take responsibility in the world to prevent such horrors. The world pre WWII was a very different place, I think we easily lose sight of that.

 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Hargrove on September 15, 2017, 04:08:30 AM
From your own link:

"The German scientists were cautious: while it was clear that they could build atomic bombs in principle, they would require a great deal of resources to do so and could not realize such weapons any time soon."

The resistance to your use of "necessary" is really just its more positive connotation than "unavoidable." In that sense, people don't usually call the damage from chemotherapy "necessary" even though it may not be wise (right now) to avoid it, if you have cancer.

Those benefits you listed ignore how close the world already came to major war several times since. Cuban missile crisis, Ukraine, North Korea, Syria. Or genocide (e.g. Rwanda).
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on September 15, 2017, 08:31:33 AM
From your own link:

"The German scientists were cautious: while it was clear that they could build atomic bombs in principle, they would require a great deal of resources to do so and could not realize such weapons any time soon."

The resistance to your use of "necessary" is really just its more positive connotation than "unavoidable." In that sense, people don't usually call the damage from chemotherapy "necessary" even though it may not be wise (right now) to avoid it, if you have cancer.

Those benefits you listed ignore how close the world already came to major war several times since. Cuban missile crisis, Ukraine, North Korea, Syria. Or genocide (e.g. Rwanda).

I think without WWi & WWII, those "close to war" conflicts you list WOULD have become full blow wars.  I also think the "Cold War" would have escalated at some point and we'd have had a true nuclear conflict had we not gone through the mess of the world wars.  Also, there's this:

(https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/VOy570yBUEroVzwNjSNEd9xFGQA=/1600x0/filters:no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/assets/4708176/battle_deaths_chart.png)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: zolotiyeruki on September 15, 2017, 10:10:26 AM
From your own link:

"The German scientists were cautious: while it was clear that they could build atomic bombs in principle, they would require a great deal of resources to do so and could not realize such weapons any time soon."

The resistance to your use of "necessary" is really just its more positive connotation than "unavoidable." In that sense, people don't usually call the damage from chemotherapy "necessary" even though it may not be wise (right now) to avoid it, if you have cancer.

Those benefits you listed ignore how close the world already came to major war several times since. Cuban missile crisis, Ukraine, North Korea, Syria. Or genocide (e.g. Rwanda).

I think without WWi & WWII, those "close to war" conflicts you list WOULD have become full blow wars.  I also think the "Cold War" would have escalated at some point and we'd have had a true nuclear conflict had we not gone through the mess of the world wars.  Also, there's this:

(https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/VOy570yBUEroVzwNjSNEd9xFGQA=/1600x0/filters:no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/assets/4708176/battle_deaths_chart.png)
I'd love to see a version of that chart that went back into the 1600's, too. It feels like the last 400 years (well, truthfully, the entirety of human history) has been a constant series of wars.  Our ability to efficiently kill the enemy has gradually increased over time as well.  I have to think that the advent of nuclear weapons and MAD has been a major factor in the decrease in the scale of wars since WWII.  Of course, you could also point at the increased level of global trade for the same effect.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on September 15, 2017, 10:49:33 AM
I'd love to see a version of that chart that went back into the 1600's, too. It feels like the last 400 years (well, truthfully, the entirety of human history) has been a constant series of wars.  Our ability to efficiently kill the enemy has gradually increased over time as well.  I have to think that the advent of nuclear weapons and MAD has been a major factor in the decrease in the scale of wars since WWII.  Of course, you could also point at the increased level of global trade for the same effect.

Ask and ye shall receive.  You are right, we've been killing each other at a pretty high rate since at least the 1400's.  But there's been a precipitous drop in the 50 years:

(https://assets.weforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/150624-global-deaths-in-war-since-1400-max-roser-chart.png)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 15, 2017, 12:27:56 PM
So you're saying that the top is in?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Maenad on September 15, 2017, 12:53:55 PM
Antibiotics

Vaccinations

Birth Control

Hypertension medications (dead in my 50s without, like my great-grandparents)

Women's Suffrage, as well as the right to own property and get a STEM education

Lots less racism, sexism, anti-semitism, other forms of bigotry

Yeah, I'll take now, thank you very much.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIT_Goat on September 15, 2017, 07:08:35 PM
For people debating whether or not you would retain your knowledge of 2017, I think the article made it clear that you wouldn't.

Quote
If in 1916 you wanted Thai curry, chicken vindaloo or Vietnamese pho, you could go to the phone hanging on your wall and ask the operator (direct dialing began in the 1920s) to connect you to restaurants serving those dishes. The fact that there were no such restaurants would not bother you because in 1916 you had never heard of those dishes, so you would not know what you were missing.

So, there's no "cheating" by using your wealth to accelerate the future.  You're stuck living in that time period, as it was.

Personally, this is tough.  I probably would pick today, assuming I could keep my current lifestyle and not change it for the average one of debt.  My life is not bad.  I am working to get to a point where I don't "have" to work, but I have time to enjoy life as it is right now.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on September 16, 2017, 08:46:00 AM
For people debating whether or not you would retain your knowledge of 2017, I think the article made it clear that you wouldn't.

Quote
If in 1916 you wanted Thai curry, chicken vindaloo or Vietnamese pho, you could go to the phone hanging on your wall and ask the operator (direct dialing began in the 1920s) to connect you to restaurants serving those dishes. The fact that there were no such restaurants would not bother you because in 1916 you had never heard of those dishes, so you would not know what you were missing.

So, there's no "cheating" by using your wealth to accelerate the future.  You're stuck living in that time period, as it was.

Personally, this is tough.  I probably would pick today, assuming I could keep my current lifestyle and not change it for the average one of debt.  My life is not bad.  I am working to get to a point where I don't "have" to work, but I have time to enjoy life as it is right now.

An awful lot of my life to date has been spent learning stuff that apparently is going to be erased from my mind.  Am I going to be given an equivalent amount of information from the 1916 period in return for this, or am I just going to be stupid if I go back into the past?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 16, 2017, 10:52:29 AM
An awful lot of my life to date has been spent learning stuff that apparently is going to be erased from my mind.  Am I going to be given an equivalent amount of information from the 1916 period in return for this, or am I just going to be stupid if I go back into the past?

I assume all of you would be obliterated for this; "you" would no longer be you, you'd be the billionaire.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on September 16, 2017, 11:06:43 AM
From your own link:

"The German scientists were cautious: while it was clear that they could build atomic bombs in principle, they would require a great deal of resources to do so and could not realize such weapons any time soon."

The resistance to your use of "necessary" is really just its more positive connotation than "unavoidable." In that sense, people don't usually call the damage from chemotherapy "necessary" even though it may not be wise (right now) to avoid it, if you have cancer.

Those benefits you listed ignore how close the world already came to major war several times since. Cuban missile crisis, Ukraine, North Korea, Syria. Or genocide (e.g. Rwanda).

From the link:
Quote
This can best be explained by focusing on the winter of 1941-1942. From the start of the war until the late fall of 1941, the German "lightning war" had marched from one victory to another, subjugating most of Europe. During this period, the Germans needed no wonder weapons. After the Soviet counterattack, Pearl Harbor, and the German declaration of war against the United States, the war had become one of attrition. For the first time, German Army Ordnance asked its scientists when it could expect nuclear weapons. The German scientists were cautious: while it was clear that they could build atomic bombs in principle, they would require a great deal of resources to do so and could not realize such weapons any time soon.

They didn't have the resources because they were stretched thin on two fronts. Having the knowledge and knowhow to build atomic weapons while lacking in resources is too close for comfort IMO.

I prefer "necessary" when a) we have a choice (even if all options are undesirable) and b) things would be much worse if we do nothing or make the wrong choice. Like chemotherapy, WWII and the US Civil War were not unavoidable. The underlying tragedies were unavoidable (unless we somehow had foreknowledge that the punitive reparations after WWI would plunge Germany into chaos that would help open the way for the Nazis, but again that was one of the lessons learned which is why we rebuilt Germany and Japan at great expense after the war rather than punish them further). The world could have just rolled over, avoided war at all cost. That would have been so terrible that I don't consider it a viable option. That's why I say WWII was necessary.

We came close to world war in those cases, but we didn't and that's the point! The lessons of WWII and the UN were instrumental in this.

 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on September 16, 2017, 11:13:27 AM
I'd love to see a version of that chart that went back into the 1600's, too. It feels like the last 400 years (well, truthfully, the entirety of human history) has been a constant series of wars.  Our ability to efficiently kill the enemy has gradually increased over time as well.  I have to think that the advent of nuclear weapons and MAD has been a major factor in the decrease in the scale of wars since WWII.  Of course, you could also point at the increased level of global trade for the same effect.

Ask and ye shall receive.  You are right, we've been killing each other at a pretty high rate since at least the 1400's.  But there's been a precipitous drop in the 50 years:

(https://assets.weforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/150624-global-deaths-in-war-since-1400-max-roser-chart.png)

Great data visualization. Edward Tufte would approve :) Link to original?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 16, 2017, 11:39:51 AM
That's why I say WWII was necessary.

We came close to world war in those cases, but we didn't and that's the point! The lessons of WWII and the UN were instrumental in this.

And imagine a parallel history where we did have that war, and millions died in the cold war, and people were sitting here in 2017 and arguing it was better that we had extra deaths in the cold war, cause now US/N.Korea won't go to war.

Imagine another one, where we nuke N.Korea a month from now, and 50 years from now, someone is arguing that's a good thing, because we learned from that experience, and avoided two other wars in the meantime.

I don't buy it.

Your logic is too blunt: we learned something, therefore it was necessary and good.

We can improve and grow without wars and deaths, and just because we learn when they happen don't make them beneficial in total.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 16, 2017, 11:46:03 AM
In other words, you're arguing we learned something from WWI & WWII which prevented more deaths aftter they happened.

Totally. I agree with you on that.

Then you try to say that because of that, they were necessary and good. And that's where you lose me. Only if you can show that 1) They prevented greater tragedies than they were, and 2) There was no other way to prevent those things.

One is probably unknowable, as we've agreed, but two seems prima facie false. Clearly we can learn things without massive wars, we can improve and better ourselves. Those aren't the only mechanisms for knowledge--in fact, they seem like one of the worst ones.

EDIT: That chart, for example, two posts up.  Global conflicts are definitly going down. But I'd argue this is to other, non-war reasons. We're getting better as people, as societies. More war doesn't prevent war, it begets war.  WWI directly led to WWII. It wasn't a "good lesson," it was a precipitator for more deaths. And WWII may have bee the same, but for human rationality in the cold war.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on September 16, 2017, 12:27:50 PM
You're asking me to prove a hypothetical, which is impossible. So to be fair let's turn it around, you prove that it would have been less tragic if WWII didn't happen. The Nazis rise to power and the world does nothing as they occupy one country after another. All of Europe is controlled by nuclear armed fascists, there is no UN and the other world superpowers are isolationists.

And you conveniently avoided the issue of the US Civil War, so I'll ask again: Was it necessary and (ultimately) good? It was a tragedy for sure, all war is. But it would be far more tragic if slavery still existed in the US. So it's not that I want to see lots of people die in war, it's that there are times where it's necessary because the alternatives (including "do nothing") are that much worse. 

The US/N.Korea example is interesting. We've seen a level of international cooperation and diplomacy that did not exist before WWII (It really did not, nation states were much more insular). We are witnessing, in real time, the fruits of WWII, where world powers are diligently working through all possible options to avoid conflict and to avoid a world war (e.g. the US and China getting pulled into open conflict over N. Korea).

So it's not that I think people dying in war is good, as if the more that die the more we learn. What I'm saying is that it's necessary at times, because try as we may, there was no convincing the Nazis (or the Confederates) to peacefully change their ways. Of course, every possible diplomatic channel should be fully exhausted to avoid war, and we should do everything possible to minimize death of innocents. But in cases where we've reached the end of diplomacy, war (and resulting casualties) are necessary for progress.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FINate on September 16, 2017, 12:40:02 PM
And if you're arguing that it would be better if nothing bad happened in the world, that people were selfless and always acted altruistically, of course I agree with that. I just think it's extremely naive. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Linda_Norway on September 19, 2017, 07:22:30 AM
I think the world leader are trying more diplomatic solutions, because the alternative is so devastating. USA and other countries have such powerful bombs that they can make the world an unlivable place if they would release the whole bunch. Let's hope North Korea's leader also values his country and people, as the country will truly be wiped out if Trump really gets loose on him in a militairy way.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Inaya on September 20, 2017, 12:42:56 PM
There's a theory in evolution and linguistics called punctuated equilibrium. The specifics are above my head, but the gist of it is that the vast majority of evolution (biological and linguistic) is a very slow, very incremental process. However, from time to time, something big happens to shake things up, and evolution suddenly starts going super mega fast for a little while. Then it settles down into equilibrium for a long time until another shake-up.

It could be argued that we as a species would eventually have gotten to where we are today without the varied conflicts of the 20th century (and earlier), but it would have taken much, much longer. But those conflicts served as the shake-up that caused us to get to this point much sooner. So the conflicts weren't necessary, but they did speed things up.

(Apologies if I got the theory somewhat wrong. I not only learned about it from the linguistics side, but it was almost 15 years ago.)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on September 20, 2017, 12:52:14 PM
There's no reason that the shake-up has to be violent conflict, though. Evolutionarily, the most rapid and interesting evolution often occurs when new resources are made available - when survival is easy rather than challenging. When more than just the very fittest survive, there's more room for diversification, and for discovery of new niches where the definition of "fittest" is different.

http://nautil.us/issue/46/balance/survival-of-the-friendliest (http://nautil.us/issue/46/balance/survival-of-the-friendliest)
^ I'm a biology nerd, so YMMV, but this article is INCREDIBLY COOL.

Only tangentially relates back to the question at hand, but: although the World Wars certainly changed the political landscape on Earth, a series of escalating violence isn't really that out of step with the rest of recent human history (recent meaning the last thousand years or so). I would argue that many of the major shake-ups that changed the way humans think about morality, our relationship to society, the kind of future we want to build, etc, are far more peaceable advances. The advent of agriculture and the advent of the internet. The unprecedented worldwide decline in infant mortality over the last decade. Violence doesn't make people more open-minded, opportunity does.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on September 20, 2017, 03:04:06 PM
There's no reason that the shake-up has to be violent conflict, though.

Exactly.

The industrial revolution, and technological revolution, and such, were HUGE shake ups, but didn't need violence to happen.

Violent conflict can totally cause change. But it's not the only way. And plenty of times it happens without any change. It's neither necessary nor sufficient.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: talltexan on September 27, 2017, 01:45:37 PM
I guess there's a weaker statement that can be made, which is:

1. WWII can be a colossal tragedy, but
2. There's no guarantee that editing history by going back in time and changing it wouldn't cause something even more catastrophic to take place.

Sort of the "do no harm" philosophy to messing with history.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: grmagne on October 01, 2017, 10:21:06 AM
There's a theory in evolution and linguistics called punctuated equilibrium. The specifics are above my head, but the gist of it is that the vast majority of evolution (biological and linguistic) is a very slow, very incremental process. However, from time to time, something big happens to shake things up, and evolution suddenly starts going super mega fast for a little while. Then it settles down into equilibrium for a long time until another shake-up.

I read a book called "The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution" about six years ago and this was definitely true of human evolution. We evolved slowly for about one million years but then went through hyper-fast evolution during the past 10000 years after humans began settling in towns & cities. We're still evolving at relatively fast speed compared to most other species.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on October 02, 2017, 08:24:16 AM
There's a theory in evolution and linguistics called punctuated equilibrium. The specifics are above my head, but the gist of it is that the vast majority of evolution (biological and linguistic) is a very slow, very incremental process. However, from time to time, something big happens to shake things up, and evolution suddenly starts going super mega fast for a little while. Then it settles down into equilibrium for a long time until another shake-up.

I read a book called "The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution" about six years ago and this was definitely true of human evolution. We evolved slowly for about one million years but then went through hyper-fast evolution during the past 10000 years after humans began settling in towns & cities. We're still evolving at relatively fast speed compared to most other species.

Evolution happens through natural selection.  The members of a species with traits that lead to death before sexual maturity (through starvation/freezing to death, through predation by other animals, through disease) eventually die out.  The members of a species who create the most offspring eventually win.  Tool use (starvation prevention, control of environment), medical care (disease prevention), and social constructs (monogamy is a pretty common human societal construct, birth control methods mean far less procreation) all act as brakes for evolution.

I don't at all understand your argument at all as it relates to human evolution.  (It might well be perfectly valid for linguistic evolution though.)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on October 02, 2017, 04:46:27 PM
Evolution happens through natural selection.  The members of a species with traits that lead to death before sexual maturity (through starvation/freezing to death, through predation by other animals, through disease) eventually die out.  The members of a species who create the most offspring eventually win.  Tool use (starvation prevention, control of environment), medical care (disease prevention), and social constructs (monogamy is a pretty common human societal construct, birth control methods mean far less procreation) all act as brakes for evolution.

Ahem.

Evolutionarily, the most rapid and interesting evolution often occurs when new resources are made available - when survival is easy rather than challenging. When more than just the very fittest survive, there's more room for diversification, and for discovery of new niches where the definition of "fittest" is different.

http://nautil.us/issue/46/balance/survival-of-the-friendliest (http://nautil.us/issue/46/balance/survival-of-the-friendliest)

(You're right that selection pressures against humans have significantly relaxed. I only mean to point out that's not equivalent to evolution slowing or stopping.)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on October 17, 2017, 06:59:13 PM
Quote from: Leisured
...
Some female Mustchians have mentioned the lack of female suffrage in 1916. I am a man, and from what I have seen in political opinion polls, upper class women vote much the same as upper class men, middle class women vote much the same as middle class men, and working class women vote much the same as working class men. Female suffrage means we double the number of votes cast for much the same political outcome.


(https://media.giphy.com/media/65os7odbIW6pa/giphy.gif)

edit: corrected citation in quote.

I lol'ed at the gif.

But it's a well-known fact that women lean liberal, so not quite.

I'd go billionaire 1000%. Not for the riches alone, but for the ability to explore the near pristine version of North America.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on October 17, 2017, 07:09:23 PM
Quote from: Leisured
...
Some female Mustchians have mentioned the lack of female suffrage in 1916. I am a man, and from what I have seen in political opinion polls, upper class women vote much the same as upper class men, middle class women vote much the same as middle class men, and working class women vote much the same as working class men. Female suffrage means we double the number of votes cast for much the same political outcome.


(https://media.giphy.com/media/65os7odbIW6pa/giphy.gif)

edit: corrected citation in quote.

I lol'ed at the gif.

But it's a well-known fact that women lean liberal, so not quite.

I'd go billionaire 1000%. Not for the riches alone, but for the ability to explore the near pristine version of North America.

It would be cool to see/experience cities in different continents when they were truly unique . . . before everything became the same grey skyscrapers, cars, and people walking around with cellphones.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on October 17, 2017, 07:48:46 PM
It would be cool to see/experience cities in different continents when they were truly unique . . . before everything became the same grey skyscrapers, cars, and people walking around with cellphones.
The flip side to this is that it was a truly life-risking experience to travel those great distances to different world locations back then.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: talltexan on October 25, 2017, 07:22:01 AM
If you want pristine, you really need to be earlier than 1916. More like 1840.

We've actually added trees since 1916. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/america-trees-now-century-ago/ (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/america-trees-now-century-ago/)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: MrsPete on November 15, 2017, 04:31:41 PM
Interesting article.  I think I'll use it in my classroom -- students eat up stuff like this!  Of course, I'll have to fix the writer's grammar. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Linda_Norway on November 16, 2017, 02:10:09 AM
If you want pristine, you really need to be earlier than 1916. More like 1840.

We've actually added trees since 1916. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/america-trees-now-century-ago/ (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/america-trees-now-century-ago/)

I think it was pretty bad in Norway too, in the past. In many places they had mines where they used fire to expand the mines. Other places they had a lot of charcoal production, which is done with fire. In some places most of the old forest has been removed by large scale production in the past.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: I'm a red panda on November 16, 2017, 06:39:07 AM
Quote from: Leisured
...
Some female Mustchians have mentioned the lack of female suffrage in 1916. I am a man, and from what I have seen in political opinion polls, upper class women vote much the same as upper class men, middle class women vote much the same as middle class men, and working class women vote much the same as working class men. Female suffrage means we double the number of votes cast for much the same political outcome.


(https://media.giphy.com/media/65os7odbIW6pa/giphy.gif)

edit: corrected citation in quote.

I lol'ed at the gif.

But it's a well-known fact that women lean liberal, so not quite.

I'd go billionaire 1000%. Not for the riches alone, but for the ability to explore the near pristine version of North America.

Since they apparently vote the same as men, let's let only women vote. Please?

(https://hips.hearstapps.com/ell.h-cdn.co/assets/16/41/1024x1127/gallery-1476297782-fivethirtyeight-graphic-1.png?resize=768:*)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: arebelspy on November 16, 2017, 09:42:06 AM
Wow, blown out!

Good data, iowajes. Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Dicey on November 16, 2017, 10:52:12 AM
Wow, blown out!

Good data, iowajes. Thanks for sharing!
Iowajes, that information is oddly comforting. THANK YOU!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: I'm a red panda on November 16, 2017, 11:20:52 AM
I do think it is based on polls, and the 538 polls were wrong about the general election; but they were also quite close- so when it went the other way, it was surprising but not hugely so.

The men's map is basically the opposite color.
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CuhV43eUsAEdxkX.jpg:small)


I haven't seen actual data though.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on November 16, 2017, 11:48:55 AM
I do think it is based on polls, and the 538 polls were wrong about the general election; but they were also quite close

The 538 polls were within their margin of error on the general election; it was simply a closer race than anyone expected. The men/women voting breakdown is based on legitimate data. Last year had the biggest voting gender gap in Presidential history.

(https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2016/11/GenderGap.jpg&w=1484)

(Is there a way to make that not enormous?)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on November 17, 2017, 12:56:42 PM
I do think it is based on polls, and the 538 polls were wrong about the general election; but they were also quite close- so when it went the other way, it was surprising but not hugely so.

The men's map is basically the opposite color.
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CuhV43eUsAEdxkX.jpg:small)


I haven't seen actual data though.

Totally oversimplified, stereotype conclusion:

Women want someone to take care of them
Men don't

Funny how that works.

I didn't vote for either. I did vote.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on November 17, 2017, 02:13:01 PM
Totally oversimplified, stereotype conclusion:

Women want someone to take care of them
Men don't

Funny how that works.

I didn't vote for either. I did vote.



...anyway
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on November 17, 2017, 02:34:02 PM

Totally oversimplified, stereotype conclusion:

Women want someone to take care of them
Men don't

Funny how that works.

I didn't vote for either. I did vote.

I suppose you also believe things like "black people don't get ahead in life because they are lazy". 

Sexism is just as ugly as racism. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on November 17, 2017, 03:24:38 PM

Totally oversimplified, stereotype conclusion:

Women want someone to take care of them
Men don't

Funny how that works.

I didn't vote for either. I did vote.

I suppose you also believe things like "black people don't get ahead in life because they are lazy". 

Sexism is just as ugly as racism.


Maybe fewer woman wanted a president who doesn't feel like his power let's him grab them by the pussy.  Maybe some women supported the idea of a female president.  Maybe some of them realized that Trump had no policies outlined, and little idea what he was doing.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on November 18, 2017, 04:21:49 PM

Totally oversimplified, stereotype conclusion:

Women want someone to take care of them
Men don't

Funny how that works.

I didn't vote for either. I did vote.

I suppose you also believe things like "black people don't get ahead in life because they are lazy". 

Sexism is just as ugly as racism.


Maybe fewer woman wanted a president who doesn't feel like his power let's him grab them by the pussy.  Maybe some women supported the idea of a female president.  Maybe some of them realized that Trump had no policies outlined, and little idea what he was doing.

So you're saying males aren't bothered by that? That's sexist.

You're also acting like history doesn't look like this:
(http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2016/07/FT_16.7.29.Gender1.png)

Wait, women voted for the rapist in the 90's? Weird. Maybe that wasn't the key difference.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on November 18, 2017, 04:46:41 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on November 18, 2017, 04:50:47 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.

I looked up some of his other posts in other threads - the bolded part seems to be correct. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on November 18, 2017, 04:54:54 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.

Character attack. A famous argumentative fallacy.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Tass on November 18, 2017, 09:36:58 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.

I looked up some of his other posts in other threads - the bolded part seems to be correct.

See I feel like I saw a lot of reasonable (or at least topic-oriented) posts in other threads. Seems like he just saw an opportunity to pick a fight here.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on November 18, 2017, 09:50:56 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.

Character attack. A famous argumentative fallacy.

I think there should be a rule - if you are going to bring up the word 'fallacy', you have to use the original greek term for the fallacy you're referencing.  In this case it would be argumentum ad hominem (attack on the person).

I should also point out that someone calling you a jerk is not an ad hominem, if you actually are acting like a jerk.  In that case it's just a factual description of your behavior. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on November 18, 2017, 10:03:12 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.

Character attack. A famous argumentative fallacy.

I think there should be a rule - if you are going to bring up the word 'fallacy', you have to use the original greek term for the fallacy you're referencing.  In this case it would be argumentum ad hominem (attack on the person).

I should also point out that someone calling you a jerk is not an ad hominem, if you actually are acting like a jerk.  In that case it's just a factual description of your behavior.
Jerk is a subjective designation. Generally, a person whose opinion is questioned feels that the questioner is a jerk but this is irrelevant to the argument.

If we wanted to bring objectivity into the "jerk" designation it would involve personal attacks on a party in the argument rather than addressing the content. Which would not make me the jerk.

Using the original form is completely irrelevant. But while we're being picky, it's Latin. Not Greek.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on November 18, 2017, 10:17:12 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.

Character attack. A famous argumentative fallacy.

I think there should be a rule - if you are going to bring up the word 'fallacy', you have to use the original greek term for the fallacy you're referencing.  In this case it would be argumentum ad hominem (attack on the person).

I should also point out that someone calling you a jerk is not an ad hominem, if you actually are acting like a jerk.  In that case it's just a factual description of your behavior.
Jerk is a subjective designation. Generally, a person whose opinion is questioned feels that the questioner is a jerk but this is irrelevant to the argument.

If we wanted to bring objectivity into the "jerk" designation it would involve personal attacks on a party in the argument rather than addressing the content. Which would not make me the jerk.

Using the original form is completely irrelevant. But while we're being picky, it's Latin. Not Greek.

Oh I just get tired of people coming into a thread, acting like jerks, then crying "ad hominem" when someone points out their bad behavior. 

Re: Greek vs Latin, it's a bit more complex than that.  Aristotle was the person that came up with the idea of logical fallacies, so in one sense all logical fallacies have a Greek origin.  On the other hand, the 'common fallacies' we talk about nowadays originated with John Locke, who was neither Greek nor Latin (but did write in Latin, obviously). 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on November 18, 2017, 10:41:29 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.

Character attack. A famous argumentative fallacy.

I think there should be a rule - if you are going to bring up the word 'fallacy', you have to use the original greek term for the fallacy you're referencing.  In this case it would be argumentum ad hominem (attack on the person).

I should also point out that someone calling you a jerk is not an ad hominem, if you actually are acting like a jerk.  In that case it's just a factual description of your behavior.
Jerk is a subjective designation. Generally, a person whose opinion is questioned feels that the questioner is a jerk but this is irrelevant to the argument.

If we wanted to bring objectivity into the "jerk" designation it would involve personal attacks on a party in the argument rather than addressing the content. Which would not make me the jerk.

Using the original form is completely irrelevant. But while we're being picky, it's Latin. Not Greek.

Oh I just get tired of people coming into a thread, acting like jerks, then crying "ad hominem" when someone points out their bad behavior. 

Re: Greek vs Latin, it's a bit more complex than that.  Aristotle was the person that came up with the idea of logical fallacies, so in one sense all logical fallacies have a Greek origin.  On the other hand, the 'common fallacies' we talk about nowadays originated with John Locke, who was neither Greek nor Latin (but did write in Latin, obviously).
Look back up the thread . My posts were all on topic. A response to me dragged it away to the discussion of the voting gap. Then the bad behavior started -- directed at me.

And the "term" -- which is what you specifically referenced as being originally greek in your original attempt to drag the discussion away from the topic at hand -- is latin regardless of the roots of the concept. So again, if you want to nit pick irrelevant details, you're asking for it if you don't get them right. You have failed at logic and facts in the last few posts in an attempt to assert intellectual superiority. If there's a problem in this thread, that hypocrisy is the root of it.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: tyort1 on November 18, 2017, 11:16:24 PM
And maybe you're trolling with intentionally inflammatory comments totally unrelated to the topic of the thread, which has mostly otherwise concluded. Hmm.

Character attack. A famous argumentative fallacy.

I think there should be a rule - if you are going to bring up the word 'fallacy', you have to use the original greek term for the fallacy you're referencing.  In this case it would be argumentum ad hominem (attack on the person).

I should also point out that someone calling you a jerk is not an ad hominem, if you actually are acting like a jerk.  In that case it's just a factual description of your behavior.
Jerk is a subjective designation. Generally, a person whose opinion is questioned feels that the questioner is a jerk but this is irrelevant to the argument.

If we wanted to bring objectivity into the "jerk" designation it would involve personal attacks on a party in the argument rather than addressing the content. Which would not make me the jerk.

Using the original form is completely irrelevant. But while we're being picky, it's Latin. Not Greek.

Oh I just get tired of people coming into a thread, acting like jerks, then crying "ad hominem" when someone points out their bad behavior. 

Re: Greek vs Latin, it's a bit more complex than that.  Aristotle was the person that came up with the idea of logical fallacies, so in one sense all logical fallacies have a Greek origin.  On the other hand, the 'common fallacies' we talk about nowadays originated with John Locke, who was neither Greek nor Latin (but did write in Latin, obviously).
Look back up the thread . My posts were all on topic. A response to me dragged it away to the discussion of the voting gap. Then the bad behavior started -- directed at me.

And the "term" -- which is what you specifically referenced as being originally greek in your original attempt to drag the discussion away from the topic at hand -- is latin regardless of the roots of the concept. So again, if you want to nit pick irrelevant details, you're asking for it if you don't get them right. You have failed at logic and facts in the last few posts in an attempt to assert intellectual superiority. If there's a problem in this thread, that hypocrisy is the root of it.

My point was never about your arguments, it was about your behavior.  I've bolded the parts above, if you have any doubt - you are acting like a dick. 

Ie, aggressive language = being a dick.

Of course, another pattern I've noticed with people like you is that you seem to have a real blind spot when it comes to your aggressive/dickish behavior.  So I doubt this instance of it being pointed out will result in a moment of honest reflection and the consideration that "oh, maybe I am acting badly and I didn't realize it". 

In fact I expect you will merely dig in your heels and get more belligerent.  We'll see. 

And, re: Latin.  Just because something is written in Latin does not mean it's Latin in origin.  As is the case here.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on November 18, 2017, 11:20:31 PM
I read through this entire thread and carefully considered everyone's viewpoints before coming to the most reasonable answer I could: I'd rather be a billionaire in 1916 because they had really great clothes back then.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on November 18, 2017, 11:21:30 PM
You two have derailed this far enough to whine about posts you don't like. I have nothing else to say on this. Back to the topic at hand.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: FIREySkyline on November 18, 2017, 11:22:43 PM
I read through this entire thread and carefully considered everyone's viewpoints before coming to the most reasonable answer I could: I'd rather be a billionaire in 1916 because they had really great clothes back then.
I've heard they were terribly uncomfortable, though. I dunno. I kinda like being able to wear a soft tee and jeans. Or some nice merino.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: SeaEhm on November 19, 2017, 09:57:45 AM
Average american today.

I like my life.  As an average American, I have a lot at my disposable because of technology that no money in 1916 could have afforded.

Even asking this question about the 1950s billionaire vs today's average American would be challenging. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Rimu05 on November 19, 2017, 02:14:23 PM
Rather be average today.

I could fantasize about all the art I'd like to experience during this time.  Harlem renaissance, the jazz age, etc... Also since, I am not American by birth (but by citizenship), I truly want to know what it would be like to be a black American in such oppressive times.

Anyway, while not 1916, talking to my great grandma who was born in 1921 is quite interesting. She gave us a family photo of when she was a child and you can see the influence of british colonialism. However, I believe at the time, we still owned our land as she's been in the same parts for a while. However, one thing I noted is that my great grandmother is pretty light skinned. It really makes me want to trace our lineage. What are our migratory patterns here?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: zolotiyeruki on November 19, 2017, 02:15:49 PM
I read through this entire thread and carefully considered everyone's viewpoints before coming to the most reasonable answer I could: I'd rather be a billionaire in 1916 because they had really great clothes back then.
I've heard they were terribly uncomfortable, though. I dunno. I kinda like being able to wear a soft tee and jeans. Or some nice merino.
Both are very fine points indeed.  It sure feels like we've lost a lot of very fine style as we've adopted more and more casual and comfortable attire.  Someone needs to invent comfortable clothes with the styles of that era.  With the advances we've seen in textiles, it should certainly be possible!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: talltexan on November 20, 2017, 01:18:34 PM
When people talk about the tech billionaires of 2016 in the equivalent of this thread next centure, do you think it will be more like how the pop stars/ rappers dress, or more how Steve Jobs dressed?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: hoping2retire35 on December 08, 2017, 08:39:18 AM
A big difference between the 1916 billionaire and the rich guy in 1000 AD or 2000 BC is stability. In 1000 or 2000 BC you could have been overran by barbarians at anytime and had all your gold and cattle stolen and that is just if you were lucky enough to escape with your life.

And the question is average american not retired mustachian. I'll take 1916.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: enron on December 17, 2017, 09:43:07 PM
I would take living today at even a minimum wage level versus being a billionaire in 1916.  The standard of living has increased so dramatically thanks to technology.   
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Moneyball on December 20, 2017, 01:50:25 AM
I'd take the 1916 billion. The comforts of modern life are nice, but one would be a very special human with that amount back then!
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: I'm a red panda on December 20, 2017, 07:05:42 AM
Average american today.

I like my life.  As an average American, I have a lot at my disposable because of technology that no money in 1916 could have afforded.

Even asking this question about the 1950s billionaire vs today's average American would be challenging.

Are you an average American? 

The vast majority of the people on this forum live a higher standard of living, a higher level of education, and a higher amount of wealth than the average American.

(I'd be ME over a 1916 billionaire; but I don't want to be average right now.)
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Caoineag on December 20, 2017, 08:42:47 AM
Average american today.

I like my life.  As an average American, I have a lot at my disposable because of technology that no money in 1916 could have afforded.

Even asking this question about the 1950s billionaire vs today's average American would be challenging.

Are you an average American? 

The vast majority of the people on this forum live a higher standard of living, a higher level of education, and a higher amount of wealth than the average American.

(I'd be ME over a 1916 billionaire; but I don't want to be average right now.)

That's what I don't understand about this thread and the majority choosing the billionaire. We all think being an average American is a step down from our current life but somehow the majority think that taking several steps down in living standard is okay if they have a lot of money in comparison to everyone else. Hunh? I don't want to be an average American, I prefer to be me and have my life. But if I have to choose to downgrade one level or downgrade multiple levels with money, I choose one level downgrade.

I think the issue must be that I value knowledge/information, food diversity, medical advances and technology more than the majority. What's the point in having money if it can't buy me the things I want?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: I'm a red panda on December 20, 2017, 09:38:05 AM
Average american today.

I like my life.  As an average American, I have a lot at my disposable because of technology that no money in 1916 could have afforded.

Even asking this question about the 1950s billionaire vs today's average American would be challenging.

Are you an average American? 

The vast majority of the people on this forum live a higher standard of living, a higher level of education, and a higher amount of wealth than the average American.

(I'd be ME over a 1916 billionaire; but I don't want to be average right now.)

That's what I don't understand about this thread and the majority choosing the billionaire. We all think being an average American is a step down from our current life but somehow the majority think that taking several steps down in living standard is okay if they have a lot of money in comparison to everyone else. Hunh? I don't want to be an average American, I prefer to be me and have my life. But if I have to choose to downgrade one level or downgrade multiple levels with money, I choose one level downgrade.

I think the issue must be that I value knowledge/information, food diversity, medical advances and technology more than the majority. What's the point in having money if it can't buy me the things I want?

But the current you isn't a choice.  Average now or billionaire then is. 
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Caoineag on December 20, 2017, 09:55:40 AM
...

But the current you isn't a choice.  Average now or billionaire then is.

Right. I consider average now one level downgrade versus a billionaire then several level downgrade. I take average now over billionaire then.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: talltexan on December 21, 2017, 07:33:44 AM
What if we should be choosing billionaire today or average person in year 2100?
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 21, 2017, 09:16:23 AM
2100 all day every day
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on December 21, 2017, 09:25:50 AM
2100 all day every day

I don't think you read the question correctly.  The average person.  Not the average first world country person.

When you include the millions around the world living in poverty and without access to more than the most rudimentary of food, shelter, and medicine and then factor in the impacts of continuously increasing birth rates in third world conditions and how climate change will negatively impact world populations . . . well, it doesn't look very rosy for the 'average' human being on planet Earth.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: talltexan on December 27, 2017, 07:21:49 AM
If we extrapolate from the last 30 years, I think the average person in 2100 will probably do okay.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: bridget on December 29, 2017, 12:39:45 PM
2100 all day every day

I don't think you read the question correctly.  The average person.  Not the average first world country person.

When you include the millions around the world living in poverty and without access to more than the most rudimentary of food, shelter, and medicine and then factor in the impacts of continuously increasing birth rates in third world conditions and how climate change will negatively impact world populations . . . well, it doesn't look very rosy for the 'average' human being on planet Earth.

Maybe it's you who didn't read the question correctly :) It says average "American," a first-world country. 

Median income in America is somewhere around the $50k range, if I recall correctly.  Because of the 1%-ers who are high outliers, the "average" is probably higher than that. 

...

But the current you isn't a choice.  Average now or billionaire then is.

Right. I consider average now one level downgrade versus a billionaire then several level downgrade. I take average now over billionaire then.

I think this comes down to how some people are interested in relative wealth/lifestyle and others are interested in absolute wealth/lifestyle.  I've heard some people here say that they would rather get a 3% raise that is a little higher than everybody else at their company than a 5% raise that is a little lower than everyone else, even though the 5% is more money in absolute terms.  They don't feel valued, respected, etc. unless it is in relative terms.  I think many (most?) people also judge the quality of their lifestyle not based on objective things they have, but based on what other people have.  I have absolutely better indoor plumbing, food options, personal autonomy, blah blah blah than a billionaire in 1916, but as an "average" American, at least half of my peers around me have nicer stuff than I do.  Psychologically, it can feel like I'm worse off if I measure based on comparison rather than actual objective benefits. 

I personally think that comparison judging is a psychological/emotional fallacy to be overcome, and leads people to make decisions for themselves that make them worse off (see people who would take the 3% rather than the 5% raise based on their peers), so would choose Average American today.
Title: Re: Would you rather be a billionaire in 1916, or an average American today?
Post by: GuitarStv on December 29, 2017, 04:58:00 PM
2100 all day every day

I don't think you read the question correctly.  The average person.  Not the average first world country person.

When you include the millions around the world living in poverty and without access to more than the most rudimentary of food, shelter, and medicine and then factor in the impacts of continuously increasing birth rates in third world conditions and how climate change will negatively impact world populations . . . well, it doesn't look very rosy for the 'average' human being on planet Earth.

Maybe it's you who didn't read the question correctly :) It says average "American," a first-world country. 

Median income in America is somewhere around the $50k range, if I recall correctly.  Because of the 1%-ers who are high outliers, the "average" is probably higher than that. 

Not in post 153, which was what the post I was responding to was discussing.

 :P