It is nice when someone points out the obvious fact that for most people, most stuff (i.e. consumer durables) is pretty good nowadays – at least compared with equivalent stuff from a long time ago. Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand discusses this is the 2008 World Question “What have I changed my mind about?” – he now believes that good old stuff sucks:
Well, I bought a sequence of wooden sailboats. Their gaff rigs couldn’t sail to windward. Their leaky wood hulls and decks were a maintenance nightmare. I learned that the fiberglass hulls we’d all sneered at were superior in every way to wood.
Remodeling an old farmhouse two years ago and replacing its sash windows, I discovered the current state of window technology. A standard Andersen window, factory-made exactly to the dimensions you want, has superb insulation qualities; superb hinges, crank, and lock; a flick-in, flick-out screen; and it looks great. The same goes for the new kinds of doors, kitchen cabinetry, and even furniture feet that are available — all drastically improved.
(New stuff is mostly crap too, of course. But the best new stuff is invariably better than the best old stuff.)