Fancy silver sparkly wristwatch, 2018.
history pragmatic historian

Using History – Analyzing Luxury Homes, the New American Aristocracy, and Greenland’s Ice

Today I bring you three articles showing the use of history in relation to the economy. Yep, even Greenland’s ice has a tie between history and the economy.

  • The FastCo Design article “The hidden cost of our obsession with luxury living” shows how our expectations regarding the size of our homes have changed over time, with bigger now equaling better. However, this increase in home size has had real effects on society and the economy. Alexandra Staub, the author of the piece, examines the ethical implications of this trend in terms of diversity, wealth inequality, and drawing resources away from public services. I’d also like to add that by increasing the size of our homes, we are straining environmental resources, particularly when newer homes are cheaply built and not meant to last.


  • A very, very long article in The Atlantic by Matthew Stewart called “The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy” is well worth the read in no small part because Matthew draws upon his own family’s history to show how the wealth inequality of the 1920s compares to today’s wealth inequality. As past cycles of wealth inequality have shown, things don’t necessarily end well for the aristocracy. It is Matthew’s hope that today’s 9.9 percent will help come up with a solution rather than waiting for the inevitable economic crash.