The wealth gap grows: When Ernest Hemingway wrote his 1937 novel, To Have and Have Not, he could not have imagined how the gap between the wealthy and the struggling would exponentially grow over the ensuing eighty years. Compared to what Hemingway’s characters faced, today’s poor cling to a slippery slope that show no signs of being righted.
A recent US report for 2011 shows that almost 1/3 of working families struggle to cover basic needs – up from 28% in 2007. It also indicates that the top 20% of Americans (Hemingway’s yacht characters) earned 48% of all income, while the bottom 20% (Hemingway’s main characters) earned less than 5% (Source: Reuters). Across eighty years, change has been for the worse, for the many.
Toyota out sells GM worldwide. “The foreigners are coming, the foreigners are coming … oh, they’re already here.” In 2012 Toyota beat General Motors in total global car sales – 9.7 million cars and trucks versus 9.29 million. Camry led all sales in US. GM has been number one for seven decades, except in 2008 when Toyota took first place. And again now. Also, Volkswagen posted its best ever full-year sales, up 34% in the US and 25% in its largest market, China. (Source: Detroit News & AP). “The times, they are a changin’…”
Digging up the family dirt: Last year, according to a 2012 study, $2.3 billion was spent by folks looking up their ancestors and often they found more than they bargained for – bank robbers, murderers, adulators (surprise), bigamists, prostitutes, black sheep, skeletons…. Genealogical Web research is booming and membership on Ancestry.com rose 54% since 2010 to more than 2 million. (Source: Wall Street Journal).
Genealogical research has been around for centuries but in the era of the Internet more and more people are able to delve into their past. And a great journey it is. It is a rewarding experience to discover your roots and connect to those who built the foundation for the myriad of opportunities enjoyed today – or undermined them. Uncovering your family tree and recording your history can be a valued asset passed on to future generations.