What’s Changed about the Standard of Living?

Lead Essay

  • It’s Complicated. But Hopeful. by Megan McArdle

    Megan McArdle makes the complicated case for optimism: Present-day Americans generally enjoy lives that at a comparable age their grandparents could only dream about. Technology has turned many onerous chores into trivial ones. It entertains us and supplies us with a wide variety of consumer goods. We spend more on health care, but it’s better care, and it’s also an accomplishment that we can spend so much on it at all. Yet many problems remain: Life is good for college graduates, but for others it can be increasingly hard. Mass incarceration raises questions about how good prisoners’ lives can possibly be. And family and community breakdown seems by many measures all too great a problem. As a result, McArdle’s optimism is decidedly guarded.

Coming Up

Essays by Brink Lindsey, Jared Bernstein, and Richard V. Reeves. Conversation to continue through the end of the month.

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