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Rich in the Past or Middle Class in the Present – I Choose the Middle Class

Recently, I went to the Edison and Ford’s summer homes when I was in Florida during vacation.  After touring their homes and getting a feel for how they lived their lives, I started wondering if I would rather live like I do today or live a life similar to one of these great men of the past.

Surprisingly, I choose the present, and here is why:

  • The world is at my disposal because of cheap transportation via the airplanes and airline infrastructure!  It’s relatively cheap to fly today versus in the past.  The trick in the past would be to even finding a flight to even a small fraction of the places airplanes can take us today!
  • I like air conditioning, especially during hot summers like we just recently had!  I can imagine that the folks back then were often pretty sweaty during their summers!
  • I like central heating!  It’s nice have an even flow of heat throughout the house!
  • I like the heater in my car!  Can you imaging driving to work in the winter (especially if live in the North) without a heater?
  • It’s nice to have great inflatable rubber tires!  If I lived in the past, I might get stuck in the ruts in the roads that they had back then, especially when it was snowy.  which brings me to my next point:
  • I like our roads and the fact that they are plowed when it snows!
  • Credit and credit cards (like the Chase Freedom credit cards)!  Now we too have access to credit like the rich of yesteryear had.  While some complain about available credit, at one time the middle class didn’t have such opportunities.  Credit is just a tool,  what you do with that tool is up to you.
  • Modern medicine is huge!  The rich back in the days of yesteryear didn’t have it nearly as good as we do with respect to medical treatments!
  • Technology, yes as much as I state that we are losing jobs to technology, I still love it!  It’s amazing what we can do today versus yesterday.  Shoot, I’m not even sure if I can write a paper letter more than a page long anymore.  Think about when was the last time you wrote a real multi-page letter to someone where the letter was more than an invitation to an party?  Do I even have to mention cell phones, let alone a smart cell phone?
  • I love indoor plumbing.  Oh they has some systems back then (think  outhouses), but still, we have it better.
  • And then there are all of the recreational activities!  boating (not the slow boring type of the past either), jetskiing, snowmobiling, affordable snow skiing, parasailing, and the list goes on and on!
  • And finally, the Internet!  Yes this is a part of technology, but it’s so much more than that!  Currently, we surf the web, email each other, play games, blog, watch movies, listen to music, educate ourselves, fix things via information googled on the internet, socialize, etc…  The internet  just continues to snowball into bigger and more incredible things.

Actually the Internet really tips the scale!  I would bet that we of the here-and-now have been exposed (via the internet) to twice as much as the people in the middle classes of Edison and Ford’s era!

As much as the media complains about how bad the middle class has it today, I wouldn’t switch places with someone that was rich just 40 years ago, let alone over 100 years ago!

Sometimes we need to sit down, look around, and realize how incredible we really have it!

I say enjoy the here-and-now before it has come-and-gone!

So here is to a great weekend, now it’s time to enjoy it!



25 Responses to Rich in the Past or Middle Class in the Present – I Choose the Middle Class

  1. haha I couldn’t agree with you more especially when it comes to indoor plumbing. You don’t even have to go back 40 years to appreciate how good we have it now. Just go to developing countries and you realize how we in America take a lot of the simple things for granted.

    I visited China a couple of years ago. Everything is new and modern in the big cities, but when you go out to the provinces everything changes. The public bathrooms in the country side don’t have any stalls or toilets, its just one long open trench. Oh and you have to buy toilet paper. Its not complimentary.

    • I have to admit, I was thinking of Somalia as I was writing this article. I wouldn’t want to be rich and live there even today. I hope they work out their problems! China sound pretty fascinating overall, like a tale of two cities…

  2. I have to agree. I will take the contemporary luxuries any day. The only thing I think we miss today is some sense of honor. For example, every business nowadays seems to be in it just for the money, with little sense of providing a great service. The charity work that major corporations do, they do to improve the image of their products. Other than this, I absolutely agree – especially the modern medicine.

    • Honor is a funny thing really. I think the messages we get in the media sometimes make honor seem foolish. With media exposure today, everybody is discredited. It’s hard to be a hero when someone else is calling your a heel…

  3. Part of the reason, you choose today is because you are used to these conveniences. I grew up with black & white TV, window A/C, and a lot less technology. It did not stop me from enjoying life. The entry point to success was lower in the past. There was less competition. You could do more with less money or savings. For example, my first house (3 Bedroom w/ pool) was $35.5K.

    • Very true, my grip is that everybody (including the media) complains about how horrible they have it in the US, but go live in rural China for a while. Where they are amazed by just the quality of the dental practices that we have let alone the luxuries.

  4. Well as a woman, my opportunities are vastly superior today than they were 100, 50, or even 30 years ago. Now If I had the choice of being independently wealthy (i.e. my wealth is in my name and not because of a rich husband), I *might* consider being rich 100 years back.

    • Awesome point! Yes women have many more inroads to become rich and possessions than those even 30 year or more ago. Great point, I wish I had thought of those and wrote them above!!

  5. Go with today for sure!

    Sure, being rich means higher social status. But who cares about that? At least I don’t.

    And, maybe the ability to not work at all. I guess I do like that part:) Overall though, I’d take today as middle class over rich in the past due to technology being more advanced, as well as our culture being more open minded.

  6. I pick today 100 percent! If I were alive and rich all those years ago, I would be stuck in some horribly uncomfortable dress with a waist sucking corset and sweating to death. No thank you.

  7. I think I could live without the internet. I grew up without it after all. It wouldn’t be so bad and might force me to do more in my own community vs the virtual one I play in today.

    I definitely like our cozy snug home. You’re right, it’s hard to duplicate that 100 years ago. Modern refrigeration also allows us to have fresh food year round. Living in a Cold climate, that is a big deal.

    • It’s TV that I could live without, but I’m sure many disagree with me on that point.

      I think the internet adds something in communications that has never existed before, and that is the chance to connect with anyone practically anywhere (at least with a connection to the internet). I’m not entirely sure if that is a positive, but it’s choices that didn’t exist in the past and that in itself is cool 🙂

  8. The middle class (at least in America) lives better today than the kings and queens of a 100 years ago. I’ll take today every time, and look forward to life being even better in the future.