03/03/2003

I just read a fascinating article that points out how a bag of flour that today costs 69 cents was equivalent to about three days’ wages for someone living in the Middle
Ages. ¬†As technology and society have advanced, so has our ability to provide food for the populace. It’s astounding to consider that just before Gutenberg’s time, a single book might cost the equivalent of $6,000 in today’s dollars.

Yet despite our staggering advances, there are still places in the world where people live in conditions that are quite literally the same as those people in the Middle Ages. Wealth, technology, and access to food and health care are distributed in a shamefully unequal manner. I whine because my internet connection isn’t fast enough, while across the world someone cries because their infant son has died of malnutrition.

There aren’t easy answers to these sorts of problems, but it does make one pause to consider the bountiful wealth we enjoy without a moment’s thought.