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Would you rather be middle class in 2013 or peasant in 1813?

Discuss and talk about any general topic.

Moderators: jamesbond, fschmidt

Postby Jester » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:21 pm

Rock wrote:
I'm not so sure. Perhaps people today just expect and demand a lot more.



Thank you, you're making my case. Bitchy women who can't cook and expect store-bought gifts make life harder today than it was back then So do TV-watching kids who want toys that look neat in TV commercials. So it was much easier in the nineteenth century - as you point.

BTW, those home-cooked meals were 100% natural and organic. Try pricing that today.

Rock wrote:
Back when majority of people made their living as farmers, children were assets so it made sense to have big families.



Under the tutelage of a father, or via apprenticeship, a son should be economically useful by age 15 if not long before. About the same time he wants a sex life! The two things kind of go together.

Today's society created debt-ridden boy-men who complete education in mid-twenties or later, and are then unable to earn a living sufficient to enjoy procreative sex and raise a family.

Rock wrote:
If I had been born then in our same family, I would have at best graduated from high school, toiled on a farm, married some local gal, and probably would have died before 60.



Yup. No need to go abroad to find a virgin bride. No need to outside your own language, culture or country.

And speaking of a farm, you would have owned some land free and clear (few mortgages back then). Imagine that.

Who owns those acres now?

Did most people die younger? Yes. No goddam nursing home internment needed. And they usually saw their grandkids before they died.

Rock wrote:If you were to ask most people in developed world to life like their great great grandfathers did, I'm afraid overwhelming majority would not be willing to give up the perks of their modern life today.


That really wasn't the question was it?

If you ask most turkeys at the Tyson Foods or Purdue feedlot if they want to live in the wild and scratch out their own meals on their own, they would just look at you, say 'gobble gobble", and go back to eating what they're fed.

It's not about taking a vote.

The thread is about what each of US would do, not asking the turkeys.
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Postby mrmillersd » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:30 pm

Jester what race are you?


As a asian, I definitely would not be able to live the simple, comfortble lifestyle you spoke of...

If you are a White Anglox saxon american, its a touch choice 1813 was pretty good for you. You could just buy us minorities to work your farms...
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Postby Jester » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:35 pm

Rock wrote:
Jester wrote:

Basic necessities (except clothing) have kept pace with gold. Gold price increase has far outpaced wages.



Are you sure? What data is that based on? For example, check out these charts on food prices:

http://mjperry.blogspot.tw/2008/08/over ... allen.html

Ford kinda made a car in the 20s like Bill Gates made a computer in the late 90s, a cut price mass marketed have to have item for most families. So it's kind of stretch classify a regular car as a luxury then or now. Try surviving where you live without one and you'll see what a necessity it is.


Cars ARE a necessity today. Five per family, in fact, if you have three kids in college. Cars were $500 in the past. What do they cost now? Do the math yourself.

Re gold, again no charts are needed. Gold was $20 an ounce throughout the nineteenth century. Now it's what? $1800? $1400? Sure it jumps around because the dollar is nonconvertible. But it's still a rough measure of real inflation. I currently figure a 75 fold increase in prices since 1900. The "nickel beer" should now cost $3.75 at the local tavern. About right.

Technology brings down costs and downsizes electronics, but electronics are necessities only today, not in the past.
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Postby Jester » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:45 pm

mrmillersd wrote:Jester what race are you?


As a asian, I definitely would not be able to live the simple, comfortble lifestyle you spoke of...

If you are a White Anglox saxon american, its a touch choice 1813 was pretty good for you. You could just buy us minorities to work your farms...


I think the OP was to compare being a 19th century peasant versus living today. I wasn't considering the comparison between being a Chinese railroad worker in 1850 versus being a Chinese-American IT worker today. That's a rigged comparison.

A better comparison would be a White or Black American in 1890 farming his own land, versus a plumber or computer programmer in a modest house or apartment today.

Or a Chinese peasant in China in 1850 versus a Chinese factory foreman in China today.

If you DO want to start looking for pockets of racial oppression, there are plenty today or in recent history. Congo, Timor, Darfur, on and on. Some folks in those situations might gladly change places with a Chinaman in 1850. Or with an African slave in the same period.

So I suggest we leave off the egregious historical injustices, and compare apples to apples.
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Postby Jester » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:47 pm

Some of you guys have been brainwashed to think that the past was an unending oppression and outrage.

Not so.

People worked, ate, played, had sex, raised families. If they hadn't done okay, we wouldn't be here.

Dropping populations today are clear evidence that times are hard. Though comfy, paradoxically.
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Postby mrmillersd » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:52 pm

Huh? I am the OP. Many people here complain about being born in the wrong time period. So the proposition was to remain who you are, EXACTLY who you are, and just swap the time period. Obviously everyone would want to change themselves to be good looking king of xxx kingdom...
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Postby Jester » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:20 pm

mrmillersd wrote:Huh? I am the OP. Many people here complain about being born in the wrong time period. So the proposition was to remain who you are, EXACTLY who you are, and just swap the time period. Obviously everyone would want to change themselves to be good looking king of xxx kingdom...


I guess that's another way of looking at it, totally valid.

What I was remembering, and answering, was this:

mrmillersd wrote:Keep in mind, you are MIDDLE class in 2013 vs a worker/peasant in 1813. You were either somebody or nobody back in those days, and most of us wouldnt be educated/royals. Unless you are top 1% today, assume you would be a factory worker in 1813. This is in the USA btw.

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Postby Cornfed » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:23 pm

I'd want to live in a period where it was possible to lead a normal life raising a family in co-operation with your close kin, while living and being judged by a strong sense of personal honor. Hence I would go for the 1813 option rather than this dystopian nightmare, although even that is a bit late for peasants in the British Isles, which was industrializing at that time.
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Postby mrmillersd » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:24 pm

Ahh sorry. I meant that you could not enjoy current middle class basics of today, such as an education. Obviously being the upper crust of any generation is preferable so that wouldn't make an interesting thread.
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Postby Bane » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:56 pm

mrmillersd wrote:Huh? I am the OP. Many people here complain about being born in the wrong time period. So the proposition was to remain who you are, EXACTLY who you are, and just swap the time period. Obviously everyone would want to change themselves to be good looking king of xxx kingdom...


You know, I never really got around to answering the OP's original question... so here goes:

If I were to remain exactly who i am today..... I would be better off in the past. My life would have been shorter, but more meaningful, and I might not have had time to suffer as a decrepit old man before I died.

Paradoxically, with the technologies and advances that I predict will be present in the future, I would also fare better there as well.
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Postby Teal Lantern » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:14 pm

Jester wrote:Some of you guys have been brainwashed to think that the past was an unending oppression and outrage.

Not so.

People worked, ate, played, had sex, raised families. If they hadn't done okay, we wouldn't be here.

Dropping populations today are clear evidence that times are hard. Though comfy, paradoxically.


Eighteen-thirteen?
Before the Trail of Tears? Before the Civil War?

I'm fairly certain some people were more equal than others.
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Postby mrmillersd » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:30 pm

Wow. That is new even for HA paranoid conspiracists. Stuff like Slavery, forced chinese labor is only brain washing? there arent thousands of journals, photos, etc of those times?
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Postby Cornfed » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:49 pm

mrmillersd wrote:Wow. That is new even for HA paranoid conspiracists. Stuff like Slavery, forced chinese labor is only brain washing?

The decline of chattel slavery represented a turn for the worse in the human condition, as I point out in this thread:
http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18396
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Postby mrmillersd » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:12 pm

For the overall population, not for the blacks enslaved though.

As one of the minorities that wouldve been enslaved/repressed, I welcome the new liberal attitude of equality and general acceptence. I went to tennesse for a week and got called dirty gook more times there than my entire life in New England. Just flat out uncomfortable.
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Postby Rock » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:11 am

Jester wrote:
Rock wrote:
I'm not so sure. Perhaps people today just expect and demand a lot more.



Thank you, you're making my case. Bitchy women who can't cook and expect store-bought gifts make life harder today than it was back then So do TV-watching kids who want toys that look neat in TV commercials. So it was much easier in the nineteenth century - as you point.

BTW, those home-cooked meals were 100% natural and organic. Try pricing that today.



Well that begs the question, if life was so much easier back then and food was so much better, why is it that a white male:

- in 1850 could only expect to make it to age 38 at birth or to age 60 if alive at 20;
- in 1900 could only expect to make it to age 42 at birth or to age 61 if alive at 20;

VS

- in 2004 could expect to make it to age 76 at birth or 77 if alive at 20?

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005140.html

BTW, by people demanding more, I mean people, not just women and that includes myself. People demand more because as things get better, expectations rise. Similarly, when things get worse, people slowly adjust down their expectations. If you want an environment where expectations are generally low, visit or expat to a poor country. You do have that choice you know. One very great thing about life in this century so far is that as citizens of the developed world, we have choices, many choices. 100 years ago, that simply was not the case for most people.
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