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relative amount of disposable income leads changes in lifestyle: As an economy
grows, lifestyle improves. Conversely, as disposable income decreases,
lifestyle degrades. This can be a difficult concept to grasp unless there is
some point of reference.
Lifestyle changes follow technological changes. This is clearly evidenced by
the rise and fall of the ancient empires. Further, the enabling force behind
technological advancement is the acquisition of gold, which has a long history
as the de facto standard of wealth.
As civilization advanced from the hunter-gatherer society to a trade-based
economy, gold became the accepted exchange medium. It constituted the basis of
portable wealth, as epitomized by the members of ruling elite and successful
merchants plying the silk routes from Europe to the Far East during the 13th
The Dark Ages following the fall of the Roman Empire reflected the lack of
wealth. It was the Renaissance and the subsequent discoveries and inventions
which ignited the short fuse of technology. Overcoming opposition of religious
and secular rulers, the discovery of the New World and its seemingly endless
supply of gold fuelled mighty sea-faring empires, not the least of which were
Spain and England.
When the Spanish Armada sailed to invade England in an undeclared war in 1588,
the Spanish fleet was devastated – losing half its ships and more than 5,000
men, while the English suffered no loss of ships. Spain had squandered its
resources on the trappings of lifestyle, leaving virtually no capital to
rebuild an effective economy, which to this day impacts lifestyle in Spain.
England – under the influence of Queen Elizabeth I – realized the true measure
of wealth was not gold, but the resources of the people of the colonies.
Colonial expansion brought in more wealth, however, at the expense of the
lifestyle of the colonists. It wasn't until the advent of the Industrial
Revolution that England started seriously divesting herself of the vast empire
she had spent centuries acquiring. This had an intriguing side-effect of
making staunch allies of former colonists.
The Industrial Revolution was accompanied by discovery and use of the
second-most favoured disposable asset: Oil. Oil and gold have a relative
value, in that oil and gold have a consistent and fairly stable ratio of trade
value, true until the devaluation of gold and the implementation of fiat
currencies during the 1930s.
It took the Technological Revolution of the latter 20th century to
re-establish the concept of disposable income. The world economy as a whole
improved with the advances in technology, creating wealth where it didn't
Approximately 75% of the gold that exists today has been mined and put into
circulation since 1910. The wealth – and primary source of disposable income –
increases every day. It may take another revolution to spur the current
stagnant economy, given historical precedence. Which, in turn, will result in
better lifestyles for those participating.
| Lifestyle - probably the largest choice of Lifestyle in the UK!|