I have been reading the fascinating Austerity Britain 1945-51 by David Kynaston.

It is worth reminding ourselves that at the end of the Second World War Britain, which was covered with bomb damage and had intensified rationing because of the weak economy but remained the most industrialised country in the world responsible for 1/4 of world trade in manufactured goods.  At that time Britain was the worlds leading producer of ships and Europe’s leading producer of coal, steel, cars and textiles.

And yet of the 12.4 million dwellings surveyed in the 1951 census, 1.9 million had 3 rooms or less; 4.8 million had no fixed bath; 2.8 million did not have exclusive use of a toilet.

So the UK has seen massive relative decline but life has also got much better.  And now I think it likely that the US is going to have the same experience with possibly quite dangerous consequences.

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