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American life in the year 2000


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#1
funkervogt

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CNN compiled an interesting list of old technologies Americans used then, and summarized how they impacted daily life differently: 

 

https://www.cnn.com/...000s/index.html

 

The list mentions Netflix DVD rentals, but let me say that Blockbuster video was far more popular at the time. Most Americans went to brick-and-mortar stores to rent movies--which were still mostly VHS tapes--for about $4 apiece. 

 

In 2000, the election campaign was underway, and I remember commentary about how Bush and Gore were both such boring and similar candidates, and how there was widespread disinterest in politics among the electorate. 

 

Yup, there was no social media, very few minors had cell phones, and texting was laborious since cell phones didn't have keyboards and instead you had to click each number on the keypad multiple times to select a letter of the alphabet. Actual phone calls happened all the time, many times per day. 

 

Even though the technology was worse, I remember people being happier, less stressed, and more optimistic in 2000 than they are today. Pax Americana hadn't ended yet, Russia was still friendly and hadn't re-emerged as a challenger, China was still too weak to pose a real threat, the Bosnian civil war was over, liberal democracy was expanding throughout the world and it was assumed the trend would continue indefinitely, 9/11 hadn't happened, the economy was growing robustly, everyone was making money in the stock market, the news media was still somewhat objective, the Space Shuttle program was still going strong, etc. 


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#2
starspawn0

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I think Americans were happy, in general, up to the financial crisis in 2008, and even up to 2013.   The near post-financial crisis era (up till 2013) ushered in activism and community involvement that was everywhere.  After that, the landscape became less inviting, less conducive to community-formation.

 

Stats from people like Pinker make it look like everything is getting better; but I don't buy it.  The overall mood seems to be that we are stuck in a flat, unchanging present that is becoming increasingly atomized into isolated reality-bubbles.


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#3
tomasth

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I thought pinker dealt with the global betterment , not just same western nation.

 

Nations are like individuals , if you are doing well you think the world is not perfect but its ok , and when you are down it looks like the whole world has changed.

 

Does the average chinese think everything is getting better ?

 

sci/tech eventualy diffuses amount nation , so as long as some are doing great , sci/tech for humanity is doing great.



#4
funkervogt

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I think Americans were happy, in general, up to the financial crisis in 2008, and even up to 2013.  

I think Americans became downcast starting in 2004, when people were still in shock over 9/11 there was a growing realization that the Iraq War was going to be much longer and costlier than Bush claimed. 

 

The pessimism definitely got worse in 2008 when the Great Recession started. In that same year, social media (mainly Facebook and YouTube) also started becoming widespread in the country, accelerating the self-segregation of Americans into different echo chambers of opinions and politics. 



#5
TranscendingGod

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I don't know what sort of people you guys hang around that make you guys so depressing. Perhaps it's because i'm in one of those "isolated reality-bubbles" that I don't quite catch this gloomy sentiment. Also the premise of statistics and data is that you don't have to "buy it". I think we might be suffering from a bit of nostalgia. In my case the 2000s was quite literally a bubble in which I was completely oblivious to the world around me and only focused on my religious obligations and to a lesser extent school. It was not until I graduated from high school that I began to explore history, the present, and a little bit of the future as well. The world was a tiny, encapsulated place for me with little to fear. As my worldview has expanded so have my preoccupations. This is not a bad thing of course as it means that I can now focus on many things that I didn't even know existed before.

 

I have a nostalgia for my school days but the picture was hardly as rosy as my brain wants to remember.


The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth. 





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