RE: [Kudlow] In Praise of Economic Freedom.

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From: Dan Kohn (
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 05:49:41 PST

I completely disagree that any past period can compare with the standard of
living today. I think the richest king a thousand years ago (even 200 years
ago) might trade his empire for conveniences we take for granted like the
automobile, indoor plumbing, and penicillin.

See <> for an explanation. Be
sure to see the subsequent article by Krugman as well, though, on why people
are not necessarily much happier.

Here's what I want to do with my life, after I retire from telecoms in a
couple years (seriously):

1) Understand why there are poor people (in an absolute, not relative sense,
i.e. under some poverty level) and whether it will always be that way.

2) Understand why rich people (again, in an absolute sense) are not happier.

                - dan

Daniel Kohn <>
tel:+1-425-519-7968  fax:+1-425-602-6223

-----Original Message----- From: Dave Long [] Sent: Tuesday, 2000-01-18 00:01 To: Hokkun Pang Cc: ' ' Subject: Re: [Kudlow] In Praise of Economic Freedom.

> I think the Economist conveniently renamed 'colonialization' with 'economic > growth' as the main engine of progress for the past 500 years.

Interesting point. Anyone on the list know much about the establishment of the Raj? My impression is that europeans, the brits in particular, and Clive in very particular, were able to overrun the Indian subcontinent due to their advances both in the military-industrial complex and in the bureaucratic obscuration of communication.

> | And so conditioned to growth have people become that most westerners | now expect their standard of living to improve automatically year by | year; if it does not, something is wrong.

Errrrr -- to what standard of living does the article refer? I am not so sure my standard of living is automatically better than it would have been thirty years ago, nor even a century ago. If I really stretch it, I can imagine that a millenium or two might not make a good deal of difference. Ancient Alexandria was probably sufficiently cosmopolitan to have been gemuetlich.


(I do agree a bit with Gould's opposing viewpoint: people have a bathtub failure curve, and we've certainly made great progress in improving conditions for the very young and very old over the last century.)

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