Nicholas A. Christakis+ Your Authors @NAChristakis Sterling Professor of Social & Natural Science at Yale. Physician. Author of Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society. Luckily wed @ErikaChristakis Feb. 23, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

I think that @ATabarrok is quite right in this fascinating and trenchant post about whether any random sod today is richer than Julius Caesar, or whether any random sod in 500 years will be richer than @JeffBezos (because he could fly to Mars then).  1/

But also highly pertinent to this conversation is the issue of relative wealth & not just absolute wealth (as in Caesar-sod contrast). As @AmartyaSen_Econ
& others (& I) have argued, wealth on an absolute scale can translate into wealth on a relative scale of "capabilities." 2/

Being on top has advantages regardless of absolute wealth. So, for instance, we see that monarchs in Europe have lived long lives for hundreds of years, even though they were poorer than monarchs today. Being on top made them feel great, and gave them longer life. 3/

Basically, the idea is that "man does not live by bread alone." And if wealth can buy you a sense of purpose or belonging, and if those are valued, then, yes, Caesar 2,000 years ago *was* richer than a sod today, and so is @JeffBezos compared to a sod in the future. #socy126 4/

Another example of how relative standing matters (regardless of absolute standing across time) is that Caesar could pick any woman as his bride but an (“absolutely richer”) sod today cannot. 5/

You can follow @NAChristakis.


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