In 1912, Astor was considered to be the richest man in the world, with a fortune of close to $3 billion in 2012 dollars. In case you don't remember from watching Titanic reruns, he drowned during the sinking of the ship, (interesting but irrelevant to the point I am trying to make.)
True, I don't have a summer "cottage" in Newport, Rhode Island. Nor am I likely to travel first class anywhere, anytime. But in every other respect, compared to him, I live like a billionaire.
- I have air conditioning (not in widespread use until the 1940s.)
- I have hot and cold water, anytime, (not in widespread use until the 1920s.)
- My car, a modest Honda CRV, is equipped with GPS (invented in 1990) and satellite radio (Sirius Satellite Radio, 1990.)
- Through my cable TV set, I always have a seat to an endless list of concerts, shows, and sporting events, (HBO was created in November 1972.)
- I am vaccinated against multiple horrific diseases, (polio vaccine 1952) and have access to antibiotics (penicillin, commercially available in 1945) if I get an infection, and insulin (discovered in 1922,) if I get diabetes.
- I own or have access to a dozen other wonderful technical wonders that help make my life pleasant, safe, longer, and entertaining.