How long do you have to work to pay to keep the lights on for three hours after dark? In this episode of Johan Norberg’s New and Improved, Norberg breaks down the mind-boggling stats behind artificial lighting throughout history.
We take it for granted, but we belong to one of the first generations with cheap and easy access to artificial light. Just 200 years ago the average person had to work almost 1,000 hours to pay for a year’s worth of evening light. Today, it can be earned in less than 10 minutes.
The costs to innovators and entrepreneurs were gargantuan, but with every technical breakthrough, the price of lighting plummeted. The spreading of light represents capitalism in action, constantly turning unaffordable luxuries for the few into everyday products for the many.