In this morning’s Washington Post, George Will penned a column proclaiming, “[G]ood news: You are as rich as John D. Rockefeller. Richer, actually.” Will drew inspiration for his column from my good friend Don Boudreaux, who is an economist at economist at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and creator of one of my favorite blogs, Cafe Hayek.
“Boudreaux asks if you would accept this bargain: You can be as rich as Rockefeller was in 1916 if you consent to live in 1916.”
At various times on Cafe Hayek, Boudreaux explores the grandeur of being a billionaire 100 years ago along with the living conditions of the time and finds a stark contrast. As Will concurs, “Having bestowed the presidency on a candidate who described their country as a “hellhole” besieged by multitudes trying to get into it, Americans need an antidote for social hypochondria. So, thank Boudreaux for making you think about this: How large would your net worth have to be to get you to swap the life you are living in “hellhole” America for what that money could buy in 1916?”