Today in the United States, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving. If you’re celebrating this holiday, whatever that means for you, whether it involves giving thanks to a deity, or to your family, or to our society, or just having a nice day off and an excuse to feast, I hope you have a great day.
If you’re not in the US, or not celebrating it, I hope you have a great Thursday.
And, given all the latest news, if you’re wondering what there really is to be thankful about, Michael Shermer has a nice piece at Time Magazine pointing out how lucky we are to be living in these times.
Overall, there has never been a better time to be alive than today. As I document in my 2008 book The Mind of the Marketand in my forthcoming book The Moral Arc, if you lived 10,000 years ago you would have been a hunter-gatherer who earned the equivalent of about $100 a year — extreme poverty is defined by the United Nations as less than $1.25 a day, or $456 a year — and the material belongings of your tiny band would have consisted of about 300 different items, such as stone tools, woven baskets and articles of clothing made from animal hides. Today, the average annual income in the Western world — the U.S. and Canada, the countries of the European Union, and other developed industrial nations — is about $40,000 per person per year, and the number of available products is over 10 billion, with the universal product code (barcode) system having surpassed that number in 2008.
The full piece isn’t too long and is worth the read.