Either way, you’d be making roughly $70K a year.
The question is being asked right now over an NPR survey, and the results will be included in a podcast next week. Here are your choices, with some of the pros and cons of each:
Would you rather:
A. Live in 1900 and make $70,000 a year.
B. Live today and make $70,000 a year.
If you choose A., you get to be super rich; your income is roughly equal to $700,000 today. You get a mansion, servants, the whole deal.
Choice B. means you aren’t rich, but you’re not poor — and you don’t have to worry about being crippled by polio, or killed when a cut on your foot gets infected. You also get cable TV and air conditioning.
When this question has been posed to econ students, two-thirds choose B. So far, about two-thirds of folks are also clicking B at the NPR online survey.
When I think about how I would answer, and when I think about how most people do answer, there’s an obvious, uplifting takeaway: Modern life is pretty darn good, all things considered (sorry for the NPR overload).
The truth is that most Americans today have everything they need—and then some.