The Cost of Luxury

A new billboard near my apartment is advertising pizzas for $5.99/each when you buy two or more.

Earlier this week, I ordered a 2 TB external hard drive for $65 at 7:56pm. It was delivered for free less than 10 hours later.

You've probably sent or received dozens of emails today. Just imagine what exchanging all of those messages would have involved 30 years ago.

The conveniences we have today were unimaginable for the vast majority of human history, even to the richest members of society. Cheap calories, instant gratification, and constant communication — these are just a few of the many luxuries we take for granted.

As a society, we are wealthy by most traditional measures, thanks to the technological revolutions of the past couple centuries. The next revolution is figuring out how to balance this progress with its impact on our health, local economies, mental wellbeing, and more.

We’re an innovative species, and I wouldn’t bet against our ability to solve the challenges that face us. But the question remains: What are we willing to compromise in the name of progress?


Reflections on creating systems to sustainably grow your impact on the world.
Email address