August 25, 2021 · 1 min read
Topic: Impacts on Work, Home, and Leisure
We’ve now seen how material abundance was created through better chemistry, mechanization, and applied energy. These fundamental technologies transformed daily life both at home and at work. Homes became vastly more convenient and comfortable, featuring central heating and air conditioning, bathrooms with indoor plumbing, electric appliances, and telephone service. Things traditionally made at home, especially clothes and prepared foods, were increasingly purchased instead, saving time and trouble. And work improved as well. It has become safer, and less physically demanding, as we moved from farms to factories to offices. It has become more enjoyable and rewarding, as machines automated first physical tasks and then routine mental ones. Most of all, it has become more productive. As a result, real wages have soared—but also, we work less: fewer working hours, weekends, vacations, retirement, and the end of child labor.
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