Contemplating potential societal changes the current technological revolution might create, it’s helpful to illuminate how dramatically the industrial revolution disrupted western society and culture. Consider the following:
Prior to the mid-1700s the family constituted the basic economic structure of society for Northern Europeans and American Colonialists. Families consisted mostly of a married couple, their children and oftentimes a hired teenage servant working for room, board and wages. Nearly all persons lived in rural areas and farming was of paramount importance as malnutrition and starvation were constant threats. A combination of disease and insufficient food resulted in an estimated 30 percent mortality rate for infants thru age fifteen. Independent living was nearly impossible to achieve for ordinary people due to the laborious nature of farming and other economic occupations, forcing nearly everyone to live within the confines of a household. Food costs represented 70-80 percent of household income for most families, leaving little if any discretionary income.