Quote Originally Posted by jk View Post
the hard fact to get our heads around is that a higher allocation of resources for necessities means a lower allocation for non-necessities. the issue is whether incomes, REAL incomes, can rise fast enough so that this does not imply lower standards of living. i'm not optimistic, at least for the short-intermediate run. iirc polls show that americans no longer believe that their children will have materially better lives than they do currently. stepping back and looking at the global picture, appears to show that stagnation or perhaps a little loss of living standards in the u.s. is being traded for higher standards for billions elsewhere in the world. simultaneously value is being dematerialized - a handful of sand becomes the guts of a computer and most of the value added is intellectual property. i think that's the race: the transition from agriculture to industry required moving people off the farm to the factories in the cities, at the same time that efficiencies in farming allowed a much lower input of labor into food production. the transition from industry to information [or whatever you want to call this next economy] requires displacement from industry, but happily allows for a lower input of materials [including energy] relative to value.

If materially better means in a "Material Girl" sort of way, then there may be considerable validity to those polls. Pretty difficult to imagine how the children of McMansion-building, Hummer-driving, granitised-kitchen & 72-inch flat screen home-theatre Boomers are going to top their parents...

Even harder to imagine why they would want to...