Right now, this very minute, life is better than it has ever been. Technology has transformed our lives. We can interact with people thousands of miles away at the touch of a button. Medical technology helps us to diagnose and treat almost every ailment we suffer. Citizens have the right to vote, to speak their mind, to incorporate businesses, to trade, and profit from their endeavors. Not too many decades ago you could be convicted for poaching a deer from the lord’s lands just in an attempt to feed your family. Now we waste more food at every meal than most of the rest of the world gets to eat in a week. Grocery stores are overflowing with produce of every single kind. You can not only get access to milk and cheese and fresh fruit, but you can choose where and how it was produced, how much fat it contains, and whether it was grown organically or not. Life is brilliant.
Just two hundred years ago, Marie Antoinette was one of the only people in the world to have a flushing toilet. Paris was a cesspool of poverty stricken people who could barely afford to survive in conditions more filthy than even the poorest area in the United States today. They would have killed, literally and probably quite violently, for even a tenth of what we have now.
If you were unemployed back then, you had very few avenues to improve your situation. Many lacked the basic education necessary to even read or write. Finding and keeping a job meant submitting to the every whim of your employer. Minimum wage didn’t exist and you could be asked to work punishingly long hours for little or no reward beyond the chance to show up and do it all again tomorrow. There were no safety standards, no legal recourse for harassment, and no equal employment opportunity rights meant discrimination was just a part of daily life.
These days we can choose a job from a vast array of employers, or take loans from the government to get more education. When we choose a job, we benefit from limits on the number of hours we are asked to work, there is a legal minimum on what we get paid, and there are all manner of regulations and standards in place to keep us safe while we work. Even better than that, if there aren’t any jobs out there that we like, we can start our own business and employ our friends, all for less than the cost of a flat-screen TV. The government will even pay us to do so and there is a wealth of free education and resources on the internet to help get us started. During times of high unemployment we can create new jobs! The opportunities to improve our own situation have never been richer.
Everything is brilliant now. We just refuse to see it.