I was at a pre-wedding party Saturday, the bride (29) is the daughter of my wife's colleague at Middlebury College. We are their neighbors, it was a nice little get together of 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60-somethings.
Tony, the father of the bride, said something to me about what his daughter and very-near-future son-in-law had to look forward to. He said that in our generation, our parents really believed that the lives of their kids was going to get better and better. He said he didn't know if parents today can feel that way. The economy has been bleak, jobs have been scarce.
I thought about that the next day. On the one hand, I agreed with Tony. I think this recession is different. I think that America does not have that certain look of Yankee Pennant in its eye. And watching Bill McKibben of Middlebury speak on Dave Letterman, it is hard not to side with Dave's cynical laughter.
But I also think that most of the enviro- losses are from neighbors catching up to us who had been held down. There was no "race" in the past with China. We won every game.
Pretty often, in retrowspect, something nice happens to be cheap - like Youtube, or Pandora, or a cell phone. That does not make it less of a life standard increase. What did our grandparents hope for? A lusher green lawn? A bigger - no, even BIGGER car?
All I need is some music, a view, friends, and a game of Risk (oops, as soon as I wrote this, Shockwave or Habro took the Risk game away online, sorrow!) , which I used to be able to play free from Hasbro on Shockwave. I don't enjoy those things less because more people can enjoy them. Humanity is learning to increase access to things that we enjoy more and which consume fewer resources.