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Give thanks for the modern world

Instapundit links to Geo Will's column on living today vs living in the past.

Who wants to be a billionaire in 1916?

no radio, primitive medical treatment, and no air conditioning.

and forget the labor saving devices:

Fewer than one-third of homes had electric lights. Small electric motors — the first Hoover vacuum cleaner appeared in 1915 — were not yet lightening housework. Iceboxes, which were the norm until after World War II, were all that 1915 had: General Motors’ Frigidaire debuted in 1918. 

Hmm.. you left out wash machines.

that is why women quit their jobs when they got married: to wash the clothes, cook the meals, clean the house and take care of all the kids (birth control wasn't very good back then).

Of course, back then richer people had maids to do this, as we do in the Philippines, where the laundry ladies continue to wash clothes.

even though we have a washer, they still wash the clothes by hand, scrubbing the stains, and THEN put it in the washer to rinse. And then you put it in a separate machine to spin dry before hanging up.

Then you hang it up: Often with 100 percent humidity, if you can't hang it out in the sun, you have to iron it not only to get the wrinkles out but to get it completely dry.

Here is a local soap commercial: Remember, this is aimed at those with TV and internet. Yup. even poor people can afford a used Korean TV for 30 dollars and a cellphone and go to the internet cafe.

As for food: we have also a full time cook, who buys fresh meat and veggies every morning at the Palenke. Food spoils: cooked food lasts one day if you store it hot with a heavy lid, although rice and eggs and veggies/fruit will last a few days without a refrigerator. Fresh fish/ shell fish ditto. Which is why they sell a lot of salted fish here.

Ever wonder why Spam is loved? It is because it keeps. So if a guest arrives, you don't have to kill and prepare the chicken from scratch.

Everytime I read a condemnation of the modern world's "carbon footprint" and they compare us to an underdeveloped country, usually in Africa, then I really really cringe.

The Philippines is half modern, but 40 years ago when I worked in tribal Africa, the women had to walk and carry water and wood. They did the washing in a stream full of schistosomiasis. They walked everywhere, or took buses...eating local food, which was monotonous and low in protein, but there were a few stores in town for soap, skin ointments, and other special things, if you relative working in the city sent you some money...(ah but the local stores did carry Fanta and soft drinks. Priorities you know. Not only is it a wonderful treat for you when you go shopping on market day, or on a date, but it is safe to drink).

The hospital and school had electricity, but not the locals. They went to bed at dusk, or partied if there was a full moon...

Our hospital had a backup generator, of course. The only air conditioner was in the operating room: most surgery was done in the evening or early morning before it got hot, but if we had a daytime emergency, we needed it.

Ah, but now even Africa is getting a modern middle class (at least in areas without war).

Example: this article discusses how Nigeria can cut their carbon footprint: Get better electricity generating plants.


It’s hard to run a business or a home without power, and those lucky few who are connected to a grid usually find electricity erratic and unpredictable. So millions of Africans, fed up with their service or having none, buy their own generators—making this noisy scene now commonplace across the continent.
Increasingly, these generators are becoming not a backup luxury but a primary source of power, even for major companies like cell phone provider MTN, which owns 6,000 generators in Nigeria alone. Not only do generators cost a fortune upfront, but monthly fuel expenditures are very high, which further restricts access to those with cash to spare.
at least we in the Philippines can cope when the electricity goes off, because here everyone in the growing middle class has a generator too. And we use it on and off: not just for emergencies, but because a lot of our electricity comes from clean hydroelectric power plants, when the hot (and dry) season arrives, we often have rolling brownouts because the water in the dams are low.

But we do know how to cope when there are floods, typhoons and earthquakes.

Here is lecture on how the Brits coped when the electricity went out after a huge storm there.

it wasn't just loss of lights and refrigeration: How to spread information was part of the problem (what, no battery operated radios?).

the funniest part was the kids snuck into the local hospital, who did have a generator, to charge up their cellphones. But being the UK, unlike here, the cellphone tower also didn't work.

At least we had cellphone coverage after our typhoon.

and our neighbors came over to charge up their cellphones. Within a day, small businesses and entrepreneurs were setting up shop offering cellphone charging for a small fee.

But at least the brits had water: the typhoon made our water unsafe, so we also had lots of neighbors coming here to fill up containers for water, the alternative being to buy water at the grocery store to drink and use the contaminated city water to bathe etc.

So when you read complaints about globalization, remember: A lot of people who were poor in the past now are rich thanks to capitalism and globalization.

And although there is a wage gap, the dirty little secret is that they poor are probably not much poorer than they were in the past.

as my husband reminded me: You are not poor as long as you have enough rice to eat.

He lived through the depression and WWII so he had a bit more experience with this than I did.

This post first appeared on Finest Kind Clinic And Fishmarket, please read the originial post: here

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Give thanks for the modern world


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