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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Heard it today on Planet Money, and I thought it was thought-provoking.

The question is: If you could choose, would you rather have an income of $70,000/year now (and PM defines this as a middle-class income, so adjust based on where you live) or make the same amount of money per year, but live 100 years ago? The adjustment (again as per PM) is about 10X, so it would be the equivalent of making $700,000/year in present time.

So, middle-class in the present, or fantastically wealthy, but living before technology, medicine, travel, etc?
 

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I would go with option 1......

I think if i read it correctly...I think i am a pioneer women reincarnated..dh not so much but i need ideas on how to get him on the same page...so i would have prefered to live 100 years ago with just 7,000 a year income as i think that would have been more than enough....
 
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1910... definitely.

Life was simpler then. I had a conversation along this line last night with Old Man. When he first moved here he was HAPPY. He had a job at KFC making $7.25, we watched the same movies over and over again and considered finding one at the library a treat. Now, he makes MUCH more than that, our bills have increased significantly and he isn't happy. He thinks the solution is to make MORE money. Making more comes with a price. Something must always be sacrificed... free time, sleep, family, piece of mind. Short of finding a winning lottery ticket on the sidewalk, there is no quick way to riches.

I'm more of a practical person. Yes, I like having virtually every cookbook at my fingertips, but what am I looking up? Recipes of old. A simpler time. Back to basics.

I would have NO problem living a life back then. Most people lived indoors and didn't have to worry about wild animals attacking them :lol:
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My first reaction was to be fantastically wealthy, 100 years ago, but after some thought, I decided I'd rather be "middle class" now, and have the benefit of antibiotics, of knowing that if I step on a rusty nail, I won't die of tetanus, having the whole world to explore by way of the internet, and being able to visit my family in a matter of hours, vs. a matter of weeks.

I am old-fashioned in a lot of ways, and the loss of a lot of modern conveniences doesn't bother me. I'd much rather see a play over a t.v. show any day, and if I were wealthy, I'd have that opportunity. But even without taking into account the problems a woman would have trying to be independent in the 1900's, the world was much too small and unyielding back then. I don't think I would be happy living there.
 

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i'd choose this day and age. i depend on the computer and my cell phone to stay in touch with people and rely on insurance and meds for my health.
 
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I'd pick the here & now. Besides the modern conveniences I really am thankful how far health care has come.
70k a year, even when dh was working we didn't make near that so we'd live high on the hog.
 
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In the present. Although I love the old ways, healthcare is the most important to me. I too would have died in childbirth 100 years ago. I have had too many surgeries in my lifetime that were done with advanced techniques. I wouldn't have lived past the age of 12 back then!!
 
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No matter what the income it is spent..Middle class has always had to struggle to keep up..yesterday, today, or tomarrow..everytime mim wage goes up so does the cost of everything..

I would rather be in the today with all the new medical breaks that have come along the past 100 years and yet try to keep some of the 100 year ways to save enough to be comfortable in todays life.
 

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After thinking about this and arguing with myself on different points, I've decided I like my life now. We are already middleclass and though we struggle at times, we always rebound. Heck I probably would have died at birth because I was an 8 1/2 lb. breech baby. I've lost 3 pregnancies and almost lost my son when the cord wrapped around him. I don't think they did any sinus surgeries or treated asthma with success back then. Medical technology far outways the desire to live that simple life back then. I can't imagine having my sinus surgery in a few weeks, way back then.

Cat
 
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How about the fact that in 1910 women were still property and had essentially no basic rights? Plus people tend to overlook to negative and romanticize the "good ol days". Anyone with any black, native american, hispanic, jewish, asian or even italian, irish or german blood in their family would be looked down on and considered less than the white protestant guy next door.

No thanks. I'll take my 40K a year that I make in the current time. If you aren't happy about our world, change it!!
 
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I believe that you can make a fortune and still be happy. I believe that you can make very little and still be happy.I would like to have been able to make a fortune before income taxes.It would not be as important to have a wealthy or middle class income back in the day but I sure would rather be poor in these times than back then. Back then there were none of the social programs that we have today for the poor. The poor today are quite wealthy compared to the poor of yesteryears. But I believe that living in the present, whatever time in history that my be, is the best time for me.
 
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In the present........you went back too far for me.

Couldn't handle being a second class citizen due to my sex.......and I wouldn't be making the money............my hubby would ...and I would have been OSTRACIZED for being a "divorcee".......nope! I probably couldn't even handle the 'modes of transportation' back then........

Now........if you went back to about the 1950's or so..........I could go for that.

And......depending on how you define 'simpler' I don't think 100 years ago was necessarily a 'simpler' time........if you mean in the survival mode. Simpler for less 'complex crime' (family values, etc) and etc. but a tough life.
 

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How about the fact that in 1910 women were still property and had essentially no basic rights? Plus people tend to overlook to negative and romanticize the "good ol days". Anyone with any black, native american, hispanic, jewish, asian or even italian, irish or german blood in their family would be looked down on and considered less than the white protestant guy next door.

No thanks. I'll take my 40K a year that I make in the current time. If you aren't happy about our world, change it!!
I didn't think of that, I'm 1/2 Blackfoot Indian so my whole family would have been treated very badly.

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How about the fact that in 1910 women were still property and had essentially no basic rights? Plus people tend to overlook to negative and romanticize the "good ol days". Anyone with any black, native american, hispanic, jewish, asian or even italian, irish or german blood in their family would be looked down on and considered less than the white protestant guy next door.
Yeah that. I wasn't even thinking about those points specifically, but I know people romanticize the past.

I didn't even have to think about it, not for a second. I like the here and now. I'd take the here and now even if I had an income of $0. I feel that both me and my kids would still be better off.
 
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I'll take the ~now~ also! I'd be dead and buried if it wasn't for modern meds. I also agree with the poster who said we are better off NOW at any income level.

So for now I'll thank my maker for chemo treatments, and for now I will just continue to watch Little House on the Prairie for my hour of somehow filling my yearning for living that "pioneer/simpler life"!

Theresa :)

ps- but anybody who's ever read The Long Winter from the LH book series, knows only too well that those "times" were hardly simpler. :nerv2:
 
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