Here’s a thought. It’s a thought I had about seven years ago while paying £500 a month to live in a drafty townhouse loft that would once have housed a maid or a nanny.
It’s a thought I had last year when reading that a stony-broke Patti Smith was able to buy a modest breakfast with a quarter dollar she found in Central Park.
It’s a thought I had at Christmas while watching It’s a Wonderful Life, in which George Bailey sells brand new houses for $5,000 in the same year that the average salary was $3,150 (so you could completely pay for a family home in two or three years).
It’s a thought I frequently have when flicking through Emily Post etiquette books, books that give the impression of a roaring 1940s social society in which people had parties often and watched television never.
It’s a thought I had just the other day when looking at the sunken staff entrances to Montreal town houses which have now been divided economically into expensive little apartments and offices. Hardly anyone can afford a house like that now, let alone staff it.
The thought: did the people of the technologically unsophisticated, gap-toothed, commodity-impoverished, disease-ridden past actually have a better quality of life than we do today?
Is that possible? Can that possibly be possible?
They never Tweeted anything to the effect so I guess we’ll never know.
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