Looking for something to be thankful for? Try this. You have it better than billionaire John Rockefeller (1839-1937) ever did.
Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Co. and became one of the richest men in American history. When he died, he had a fortune worth around $1.4 billion, or $25 billion in today’s dollars.
He had more money. You have better stuff.
How many lights did you turn on today? Thomas Edison didn’t patent the incandescent light bulb until Rockefeller was in his 40s. There wasn’t an electrical grid, so small generators powered the first light bulbs. Today, electricity is an afterthought. …
There’s so much more. Your car, medical care, refrigerator and ability to travel all surpass what Rockefeller had. It’s incredible, but it wasn’t inevitable…
These mutually beneficial transactions — the calling card of free-market capitalism — create value. They’ve created so much value that you have a better standard of living than the richest man in America had just 80 years ago.
The incredible convenience, comfort, and pleasure which would have driven a human in Rockefeller’s time to go r is just commonplace today, and as a result, it has little r-driving effect. Amygdalae have adapted to see that level of pleasure as the normal baseline. Today the lack of any of that would be so unbearable as to instantly drive the nation hyper K in psychology.
The slide to r and K occur relative to what amygdalae have come to expect as normal. Given the massive comfort and pleasure that we have today, picture what a Roman-like collapse will do to amygdalae, and to the extent of the K-psychology in men.
K is coming back, but the truth is it never went far, because it is designed to stay close, no matter how pleasurable the world becomes.