200 years ago life expectancy was about 24 years of age.
100 years ago life expectancy was about 48 years of age.
Everyone might consider sitting down today to make a list of all the things that each person has to be thankful for in our modern world -- and which nearly everyone takes for granted.
Compare your present status with those of people who populated our planet just 100 years ago.
The average life expectancy in the United States, for example, was 47.3 years of age in 1900-1902, according to the Bureau of Census.
In 2012 life expectancy is estimated at 78.49 years, and a similar POSITIVE development is found in many of the countries of the world (see this link).
The truth is that most people today live in a "better" era, when compared to all of the previous ages of humanity. Of course, the world is still full of many wrongs, and many bad events, but things can be improved, and are improving.
Yes, I am thankful this Thanksgiving,
is a posting by Zachary Karabell at The Edgy Optimist
where he reports that:
- U.S. housing is on the mend.
- The euro zone crisis has receded.
- China is resuming its growth trajectory.
- Unemployment has crested in the United States.
- There is a consensus about what needs to be done.
- People outside the media and the Beltway are going about their lives.
Thankfully, much has changed since the days of Hobbes, whose political philosophy is well worth reading to see how far we have advanced forward.
Hobbes, for example, opposed the "separation of powers" in government, a primary element of Constitutional legal systems of many political systems of modern Western Civilization today. Man has progressed since Hobbes.
Most of us can indeed be thankful on this "day of thanks" for our legal, economic and political system -- which permits us to live life as modern men and women, enjoying freedoms that were unprecedented throughout much of human history.
Things may not be "optimal", but they are "better" than they were.
We always like to point out that Henry VIII of England had SIX wives, six "Queens Consort" as it were, and NONE of them lived to be older than 50 years of age (Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, survived the longest).
How about being a "Queen Consort" in that era?
Just imagine what life was like in the society "below" the royals THEN.
Charles Dickens wrote about his Victorian era 300 years later, when things were already somewhat better in his day, but not much (Wikipedia):
"Dickens's novels were, among other things, works of social commentary. He was a fierce critic of the poverty and social stratification of Victorian society. In a New York address, he expressed his belief that, "Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen". Dickens's second novel, Oliver Twist (1839), shocked readers with its images of poverty and crime: it destroyed middle class polemics about criminals, making any pretence to ignorance about what poverty entailed impossible."And if we go back to the Pharaohs, the mightiest rulers of ancient mankind, we find that their society was, for example, plagued by health problems in a world marked by short lifespans. See BBC History and Joyce M. Filer in Health Hazards and Cures in Ancient Egypt.
Things have improved since then, and they keep improving, even though progress is always a process of "two steps forward, and one step backward".