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« How Not to Make Friends at a Party Tonight | Main | Does the Past Have a Useful Economics? Natural Disaster Edition »


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In terms of quality of life improvement, consider the following from TMS in connection with Steve's report, as well as Facebook, email, etc. etc.:

"to feel that we are taken no notice of, necessarily damps the most agreeable hope, and disappoints the most ardent desire, of human nature. The poor man goes out and comes in unheeded, and when in the midst of a crowd is in the same obscurity as if shut up in his own hovel."

Now, the "poor man" is chatting with his pals all the way ...

One other comparison, Steve.

When Voltaire heard in Paris of the massively destructive earthquake that hit Lisbon on All Saints' Day in 1755, days had passed from the time when the quake had actually struck.

We watched the Japanese earthquake and tidal-wave virtually "live" with modern communications.

And, perhaps, having watched this terrible event in Japan, we might remember a part of Voltaire's poem written about the Lisbon disaster:

"What crime, what sin, had those young hearts conceived

"That lie, bleeding and torn, on mother’s breast?

"Did fallen Lisbon deeper drink of vice

"Than London, Paris, or sunlit Madrid?

"In these men dance; at Lisbon yawns the abyss.

"Tranquil spectators of your brothers’ wreck,

"Unmoved by this repellent dance of death,

"Who calmly seek the reason of such storms,

"Let them but lash your own security;

"Your tears will mingle freely with the flood."

Richard Ebeling

Yes I agree with you that cost of call rates before were a lot higher compare today because we can only contact through our landlines and we go through operators who will place our calls. Today it is a lot easy to call at a very reasonable rate. There are also unlimited package for text and calls.

what about increased life expectancy?

In The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality, becker concluded that:

"GDP per capita is usually used to proxy for the quality of life of individuals living in different countries. However, well-being is also affected by quantity of life, as represented by longevity.
This paper incorporates longevity into an overall assessment of the evolution of cross-country inequality. The absence of income convergence noticed in the growth literature is in stark contrast with the reduction in inequality after incorporating recent gains in longevity.
The paper computes a "full" income measure to value the life expectancy gains experienced by 49 countries between 1965 and 1995. Countries starting with lower income tended to grow more in terms of "full" income than countries starting with higher income.
The average growth rate of "full" income is about 140% for developed countries, compared to 192% for developing countries."

You may have noticed that Lucent will be marketing a new cell "tower" designed at Bell Labs which will handle about a thousand times as many calls as current towers, but will be the size of a bread box and will be mounted on buildings instead of ugly towers.

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