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The Nostalgia Delusion

The “Good Old Days” weren’t that good but that doesn’t stop us from believing things used to be better

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Were things better in the past than they are now? Has there been a decline in morality? Is the world a more dangerous place now than it used to be? Are people struggling more to make ends meet?

It certainly seems that if you ask the average person these questions, they look at the past through rose colored glasses, with strong nostalgia for the good old days. Life was simpler, safer, more stable back then. Things aren’t like they used to be.

It is not just nostalgia for the past measured in decades. A recent poll showed that, for a variety of economic indicators, Americans believe things are worse today than they were in the past whether the past is three decades ago or just one year ago, despite the facts showing otherwise.

It makes sense that you might not have a good memory for what things were like three decades ago. But a year ago?

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