Saturday, January 31, 2009

Be Thankful For What You've Got

Loosely connected with the personal finance series I'm running, I stumbled across a fascinating blog post via Chris Farrell's My Two Cents Blog.  Brad Delong, an economist at the University of California Berkeley (a local lad!) points out that while "The current recession may turn into a small depression, and may push global living standards down by five percent... that does not erase the gulf between those of us in the globe's middle and upper classes and all human existence prior to the Industrial Revolution."  This brief post goes on to compare what we can purchase for our income today versus what was available to our ancestors.  He ends with the melancholy observation that, no matter how wealthy any person is, they cannot comprehend how anyone can survive on less than 1/3 of their wealth, nor why anyone would want 3 times more than their wealth.  This reinforces my belief that we should decide a priori what our desires are, and not allow them to balloon along with our earnings.

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