The Changing Definitions of Necessities and Luxuries

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Necessities versus luxuries: The turn of the 20th versus the 21st century At the beginning of the 20th century, what was considered a 'necessity' was very different than it is today. Indoor plumbing was not a given. Food was kept cold in an 'ice box,' with real ice, rather than mechanized refrigeration. Depending on where you lived in the country, lighting during evening hours was unknown, and gas lighting was the only way to illuminate the darkness. Not until the 1930s did the Appalachian region receive electricity, through Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Tennessee Valley Authority ("TVA," U.S. History, n.d). Today, a blackout is considered to be a major emergency. Life stops when there is no electricity. Even widespread network outages of Blackberries are seen as a crisis. It is assumed that everyone has access to a cell phone 24/7, and it is very dangerous to be 'disconnected' even for a moment. This is a far cry from a world where once people communicated by telegraph and written letters. Contrasting the early 20th and 21st centuries, it is tempting to portray our era as self-indulgent. But this is not entirely the case the fact that our society is dependent upon technology as a whole means that an individual is suffers greatly when he or she cannot connect with work, or cannot work, period, because there is no electricity in the building. Even if an individual wants to live an austere life, it is difficult, unless he or she completely leaves modern society and
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