We take that prosperity for granted, since most of us are victims of what's been called "pessimistic bias." Anything undesirable about our current circumstances is taken as evidence that times are getting worse. But times were much worse throughout history. Lindsey and other writers show that Americans (and many others in the world) are stunningly wealthy compared to even our recent ancestors.
This affluence isn't just for the "rich." As Lindsey told me recently, "Ordinary Americans, not just those at the top, enjoy a standard of living unmatched anywhere else on earth or at any other time."
But many Americans don't believe it. The New York Times suggests that politicians win votes by "talking more and more about the anemic growth in American wages and the negative effects of trade and a globalized economy on American jobs." And Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom the leading London betting site has as a remarkable 1-1 favorite, mourns the "rising inequality and rising pessimism."
No wonder so many of us think life is getting worse.
But that's nonsense. Average wages are up. Last month, America created 132,000 new jobs. In the last four years, America created 8.2 million jobs. Much of the world is desperate to immigrate to America.
America is rich, and because of that it is humane, with increasing numbers of people developing the tolerance that the intelligentsia says Americans should practice. Why doesn't this good news get the attention it deserves?
Could it be because Lindsey's story has the profit motive at the center? The great material abundance he writes about was not the result of altruism but the pursuit of profit and win-win voluntary exchange. For some people that's bad -- no matter how wonderful the consequences.
This is perverse to say the least. The personal pursuit of happiness is a good thing, particularly when it makes everyone better off, too.