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Old 01-06-2010, 09:32 AM
Location: Tennessee
34,689 posts, read 33,695,295 times
Reputation: 51900


Originally Posted by NowInWI View Post
Back in the 50's and 60's, most families had one car, dad went to work, and mom stayed home with the kids. This was the norm then - families didn't need two incomes to survive. Kids played outside in the summer; and inside, played with board games (such as Sorry, Monopoly, checkers, etc.) They didn't have video games, IPods, Wii Games, etc. Dishes were usually done by hand, and clothes were hung on the clothesline to dry.

Obviously, with advances in technology, our lives are easier now. Does this make our lives better? Advances made in medicine are definitely a good thing. Would we be better off with one car and less time spent at the office? Would most families be able to survive (comfortably) on one income? Were we better off as a whole then or now?
As far as the one income vs two income goes, how many two-household incomes exist to pay for the technology? If you didn't have pay and cable TV, electronic games, broadband internet, a computer or two or three, cell phones for every household member of a certain age, microwave, a dishwasher, a large screen TV or two or three, digital cameras, etc., would you need the second income? I'm not saying one decade choice is better than the other monetarily speaking. I'm just wondering if you couldn't live on one income without the technology.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:05 AM
475 posts, read 1,096,518 times
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Default The 50's and 60's

I would say that the quality of life was better then as people didn't worry or obsess as much. The middle class definitely found it easy to prosper, but expectations weren't as high also. Advances in health care definitely come to mind. When my mother died of cancer in the early 70's at age 61 despite never being a smoker or drinker, people told me that she lived to a decent age. Now I mention this to a lot of people and the comment is that she died way too prematurely. Living a healthy lifestyle wasn't on the minds of most people, as there wasn't a wealth of information on diet and exercise, and health prevention as there is now.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:11 AM
Location: metro ATL
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Well the 50's and 60's are two pretty different decades; many social upheavals took place in the 60's, whereas they were firmly in place in the 50's, although the beginnings of some changes were in the air. So I don't think you can really lump those two decades together in terms of quality of life.

As for me, I'll take now. But I wish I had come of age in the 70's. That was a pretty cool decade, at least culturally speaking.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:28 AM
Location: Southeast Arizona
3,191 posts, read 4,136,113 times
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Originally Posted by The_Fairfaxian View Post
I'd say the 1990s (up to 2001) was much better for everyone! Much better than either the 50s-60 or now. You had:

-A stable and growing economy without the extreme bubbles (including the dot com bubble, which compared to the housing market bubble, wasn't as traumatic when it popped).
-Everyone in all socioeconomic classes rising their standard of living, a growing middle class, and a rare phenomenon of the the income gap actually narrowing.
-Women and minorities being treated MORE equal than today, and there was no pressure of being politically correct. Just to treat everyone like you would want to be treated.
-Wars were at a minimum (after the Gulf War, which wasn't really that traumatic compared to the War of Iraq/Terror), and the most many people in the military did were tours at military bases in peaceful countries.
-The media wasn't trying to manipulate people that genuine morality and being one's self was a sin. Being a non-conformist and independent-minded was seen as a positive thing.
-Movies and TV shows depicted and celebrated regular people doing everyday things. The genuine and normal people & families were the protagonists and main stars. Hollywood praised actual actors that contributed to something (whether in acting or outside of it), and paid little attention to talentless dramawh*res and heiress sluts
-Cultural and racial diversity back then was something that just happened, usually with the people who were truly educated, intellectual, or just open-minded in general. It wasn't bragged about or something that was used for show. And it didn't include the most intolerable people from each race/religion to be in a close vicinity and "tolerate differences."
-Parties were actually wilder, but people were still more dignified and sincere about it. Parties consisted of just having a good time and letting loose, not going out to "see and be seen." Parties were bigger and louder, but were more genuine and social and less stuck up and cliquey.

This is definitely evident for me as well. Even though I have a secure job that has a lot of promise (whether I stay here or work somewhere else), I do see a quality of living overall decline rapidly. For me, this is why I credit the quality of life as very great in the 1990s (being born in 1987), particularly compared to the recent 2000s. My ultimate wish is that America could relieve the 1990s in a sense (or at least achieve a 1950s quality of life without the racial and female discrimination).
I can't agree enough with you! I grew up during that period (born '91), and trust me it was awesome being a kid back then (though in prefrence, I think it would more be like 1993-2001) and we didn't have a fraction of the fears then as we do today.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:57 AM
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I think the quality of life is generally better today compared to back then, for as dramatically different as our lives have become. Then again, I was born in 1981, so I obviously would not have been alive to experience it first-hand.

Now, if you asked me if I would want to be a child growing up in the 2010s, then my answer is hell no.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:22 PM
Location: Hell's Kitchen, NYC
2,271 posts, read 4,530,635 times
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I'm going to say now, but I wasn't alive back then, so I don't have real point of reference. Older people came to my summer job at a movie theater and reminisced about how they could get concessions so cheaply. And I think, "Man would that be nice. However, I probably couldn't work here if we did that these days and we'd have a line down the street."

I think it makes sense that the simpler your life is, the easier it is to be happy. People living in Prehistoric times were probably ecstatic not to be "on the menu" that day.

Today, we're worrying about putting kids through college (or going to it), being eco-friendly, low-carb, no-carb and so on. It's funny how technology and advancements present problems and we figure out solutions for the problems we created.

By and large it depends on who you are and your own personal experience though.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:35 PM
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,289,371 times
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I think many folks underestimate the advantage of white and male privilege back in the 1950s and 1960s.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:00 PM
Location: Sarasota, Florida
15,400 posts, read 19,574,384 times
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We all seem to agree about the fact that minorities(Gay, Blacks etc.) are better off now and I concur. Also SOME aspects of technology have helped our society be more comfortable and productive. But for Happiness and Quality of life...I'd say the late 50's and earlier 60's; everything seemed simpler and the world was full of optimism. How about we take some of the good old ideas(kids playing outside) and apply them today. I doubt kids now ever even heard of "kick the can"...LOL.
Kick the can - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Some of my fellow posters will remember this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OMLcQcZDac .
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:12 PM
Location: Western North Carolina
4,948 posts, read 7,880,542 times
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I forgot about the crime comparison.

I just know that in the 1950's and 1960's and maybe even the 1970's, if someone went berserk and went on a shooting rampage, it was all over the national news, television, and everyone was talking about it.

These days, instances such as these are beginning to seem almost "commonplace", they happen so often. We read the little headline about it, browse over the story and think "gosh, isn't that awful", then click on to the next headline. And shootings in schools and in churches? Used to be unheard of.

Even here in my little, quaint southern town, the peace and quiet of a Sunday afternoon was shattered this week when one man killed another in the driveway of his home after an "argument". This is a common occurance. A true, and extremely unfortunate, sign of the times.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:32 PM
Location: MichOhioigan
1,546 posts, read 2,537,227 times
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I would definitely say Now.

Technology has made the day-to-day living so much easier and the advances in health are incredible.

I notice a few things not mentioned yet.

Back in the 50s and 60s everybody it seemed smoked.

And have we forgotten how polluted our cities, waterways, and air were?

Also this was the height of the Cold War. The ever present threat of nuclear war with the Soviets and the potential post-apocalyptic aftermath hung over us constantly in the industrial heartland.

I'll take the unlikely slim chance of a relatively ineffective terrorist attack over the pinpoint accuracy of a Soviet warhead capable of destroying entire cities.
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