The Rise of Materialism: A Relatively New Phenomenon
Such a situation--being poor with my own car and several nice goods--was unconceivable in much of historical America. Early adulthood in the times of the Revolutionary War afforded precious little to the average apprentice working the gallows for twelve hours a day. I would surmise our subject knew little in the way of disposable goods, or those possessions that one could survive without. Flash ahead to the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. I'm guessing the string-cutter in the factory failed to possess a chalk-tablet, or whatever good would parallel my PalmPilot. Yet today, in a state of fairly comparable poverty, I have any number of disposable goods. The times change, particularly for those of us blessed enough to have families blessed enough to give generously. The diffusion of capitalistic activity in America has given rise to a much broader middle-class than ever before, and a "tricked-out" class of impoverished twentysomethings alien in any other era.