With thousands upon thousands of different goods in the shopping malls and, in recent years, available on the net, it isn’t surprising that consumers and economists alike think that the supply will never end and that this is what constitutes ‘economic progress’.
Few realise that we who live in the constraints of urban and suburban environments are now as typecast in our own ways of life as, say, the medieval peasant was in his. It is true that for those who were born with extra testosterone — or acquired it due to conditioning in childhood — there are many more specializations than ever before, and thus opportunities for advancement.
But otherwise the majority of the population are normally well content with their social role and their way of life at around the age of 30 when the main networks of the brain are pretty fully developed. This explains why, in the last 20 years or so, the real — non-inflated — incomes for most in the dozen or so advanced countries, have been going down, not rising. Yet there has been no specific complaint !
Economists and the more intelligent among government politicians are well aware of it, though. They know that a great deal else, far more troublesome, is in the offing in years to come. Pension shortfalls, whether state or private, for a start. This is why they are seeking a revival of the Golden Age of the 1960s and ’70s, and of economic growth of 3% or 4% a year, instead of reconciling themselves to the present situation. They should be leading the rest of the population in how to adapt more comfortably to the new post-industrial era than trying to turn the clock back.