-A mere 2 generations ago, my Grandmother gave birth to all 7 of her children in a bedroom of her home.
-She held the funeral for one of those children in the living room of that same home
-60 years ago, there were areas of the country where entire communities of people were absolutely illiterate; went without running water and electricity; had no opportunity for education; were denied employment and housing.
-Currently, there are areas of the world where poor means literally no food whatsoever. People's children are sent to work (if they are lucky), or slavery/prostitution/combat (If they're not). After food and clean water, one of the biggest priorities in these kids lives is shelter, then protection, then education.
-In the USA, the current definition of poor means you have:
...a smart phone, cable TV, high-speed internet, government subsidized telephone and utilities, food stamps, welfare, disability, WIC food subsidies, free school breakfasts and lunch (even in the summer!), free health care (including free taxis to the emergency room), free or reduced college tuition, food giveaways, toy giveaways, cheap/free home loans, employment assistance, subsidized daycare, free legal services, and free babysitting.
-Hunger has been eradicated in the US. Thanks to the various programs above, the only people who are actually hungry in America are those who choose to be.
-Education is so plentiful that it is wasted: what American schoolchild actually wants to go to school? The youth of our society value ignorance, sloth, and criminal behavior. They tease and ultimately despise those who are intelligent or try to achieve. The child that tries hard is labelled a nerd or dork. Our society mirrors this behavior: scientists and engineers are held in much lower esteem than professional athletes, musicians, or actors; despite the fact that many of these "heroes" have extensive criminal records and distraught personal lives!
-Virtually every home in the America has clean running water, electricity, television, telephone, internet access...
Then why do people complain?
There are several entities that exert a large negative influence on us:
In the popular media, sensation sells. A population that is satisfied and happy is boring. A population that is "up in arms", or in great turmoil sells newspapers. Thus, the popular media only shows the negatives of our world, and provides a much greater voice to those who complain. They effectively create turmoil by only showing the very small segment of our population that is upset; making the impression that we all feel that way.
Our politicians do the same thing for slightly different reasons: if they can get us feeling sorry for ourselves, then we'll turn to them for assistance. Assistance equals re-election.
Finally, the corporate world has, through advertising, changed the consumer system of commerce from obtaining goods to meet a need to creating a need for goods. Corporate advertising has slowly convinced our society that it is unfair if someone has something and we don't, that we are unfulfilled unless we possess more, and that we should be able to get anything we want immediately.
Simply appreciate what you have rather than obsessing about what you don't have. How much of your life is wasted feeling miserable about something you don't or can't have? Step back and look at the wonders of the modern age:
-DVD/TIVO/DVR/HULU/Netflix: Movies on demand were unheard of in my childhood. Now, they're commonplace. A DVD player can be purchased for $20. A $9 subscription to a streaming service provides you thousands of titles on demand; thousands of times better than the pay TV channels of just a few years ago!!
-Computers: I saw a Cray supercomputer about 35 years ago. I was thoroughly impressed. Now, more powerful computers are in our telephones!!
-Abundant food: We've evolved from having plentiful food to having plentiful food in unimaginable variety. We can buy mangoes from South America, pineapples from Hawaii, seafood from Thailand, cheese from Italy any time of year as easily as we can buy eggs laid in the next town over.
-Time: American workers are so productive that our leisure time can be spent in our own pursuits rather than spending the time growing and preserving food or providing for housing or clothing. We have time to simply learn, play, or grow as we wish.
-Cellular telephones: No longer do you need a dime for a phone call away from home. Have an emergency? Help is only a phone call away...no matter where you are!
-Water: From literally every faucet in America flows clean fresh water. Could you say that 100 years ago? 50?
-Transportation: Everyone has a car. Social Services supplements the cost of car ownership. The common family owns 2 or more. Compare that to 50 years ago when the common family had 1 vehicle, and the poor or people just starting in life had none and relied on buses.
We truly live in a Golden age!