I only just now paid close attention to this 1913 photograph of John D. Rockefeller that accompanies Glenn Reynolds’s recent, excellent essay in USA Today. Here’s one of history’s iconic “richest men in the world” and look at his bicycle
By the standards of an ordinary bicycle affordable by an ordinary American today, JDR, Sr.’s contraption is shaft-driven junk. (The new bike, pictured below and available at Sears, is priced at $202.19 – which means that an average non-supervisory American worker today would have to work less than ten hours to earn enough income to buy this new bike.)
Continuing with my argument of a few weeks ago I ask: which middle-class American in this, the second decade of the 21st century, would really wish to trade places with a Rockefeller in the second decade of the 20th century?