Nice to see such a thoughtful post from you for once.
: I wouldnt pretend the latter was any kind of control of the poor - lest we suggest that theft is a legitimate means to alleviate any problem we decide requires solution.
I didn't call it legitimate. I said that theft and the drug trade were incunabular forms of capitalism---kinda like stealing California from the Mexicans---operating outside of the law because the options within the law for the poor and uneducated were extremely limited.
And don't think for a second that I endorse drug decriminalization. I don't.
: Thats probably more useful - and attempt and mixing quantititative and presumed quantitative analysis - The best way to get a perception is to compare a similar study from, say the 50's, with one now and see how people rate their quality of of life.
Interesting you should bring that up.
Ever heard of the classic Scitovsky 'Rankhappinessness' study from the 1970s?
According to his watershed work The Joyless Economy:
Over this period, almost twenty five years [1946 through 1970], per capita income rose by 62 percent, yet the proportion of people who consider themselves very happy, fairly happy, and not too happy has hardly changed at all.
: Women are no longer financially dependant upon their husbands...
Well...if a family needs two incomes to stay afloat, I'd say that both spouses are still dependent upon one another.
A single person's average wage is only $8.60 an hour (Statistical Abstract of the United States 1998, table 740, p. 469).
And that's not much no matter how you qualify it.
1. Scitovsky, The Joyless Economy, Oxford University Press  1992, revised edition, pp. 134-5.