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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from pages 173-174 of Angus Deaton’s data-rich 2013 book, The Great Escape [2]:

Even beyond the point of having escaped from poverty and deprivation, new goods and services enable people to do things that were previously impossible, and these possibilities make life better.  Take a few examples and think about life before they existed.  A host of domestic appliances free people, especially women, from soulless drudgery.  Washing clothes used to be a whole-day activity every week, with coal-fired burners, scrubbing of clothes, hanging them out to dry, and ironing….  Running water and good sanitation were well known to the Romans, but it took rising incomes to make them available to us all.  More and better modes of transport provide personal freedom, widen the choices of places to live, and allow a new range of leisure activities, including making it easier to spend time with friends and family, activities that are often emphasized by anti-materialists.  Air travel has made the country and the world accessible to a large fraction of the population.  All of us can remain in touch with our children and friends throughout every day, we can develop and enjoy close friendships with people who live thousands of miles away, and we can enjoy contemporary and classical literature, music, and movies at any time and in any place.  The Internet provides a cornucopia of information and entertainment, much of it for free.  New medical treatments … have given us more years to enjoy these possibilities, while other treatments – such as hip replacements and cataract surgery – have reduced the morbidity that prevents their full enjoyment.

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