… is from page 12 of Matt Ridley’s 2010 book, The Rational Optimist  (links added):
By one estimate , the number of different products that you can buy in New York or London tops ten billion.
This should not need saying, but it does. There are people today who think life was better in the past. They argue that there was not only a simplicity, tranquility, sociability and spirituality about life in the distant past that has been lost, but a virtue too. This rose-tinted nostalgia, please note, is generally confined to the wealthy. It is easier to wax elegiac for the life of a peasant when you do not have to use a long-drop toilet .