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Did you forget that you're richer

than John D. Rockefeller was?

(in today's dollars he was worth $340 billion)

With 340 billion dollars, he couldn't do anything to help them

Rockefeller's wealth, when adjusted into today's dollars, places him as the richest man ever in the modern world. Yet, out of his five children, at least two of them died from causes that, for the most part, have ceased to exist in today's world, even for those of us in the "lower economic brackets" in the developed and developing countries.

Alice, Bessie, and even Edith died prematurely

Alice Rockefeller (infant), the daughter of John D. Rockefeller, died in infancy from a condition known as "summer complaint," which is typically characterized by severe diarrhea and dehydration. It was a common cause of infant mortality in the late 19th century.


Elizabeth "Bessie" Rockefeller, another daughter of John D. Rockefeller, passed away from pneumonia at the age of 40. Pneumonia, a lung infection, was a significant cause of death during this time period, especially before the advent of modern antibiotics.

Even his daughter Edith died at 60 of heart failure, something that could have been at least partially addressed with today's medicine and health knowledge.

Electric lighting and automobiles

There are few of us alive today, except perhaps in the poorest parts of the world, who do not take electricity and electric lighting for granted. It would not have been available to Rockefeller until his late 40s. He made do with gas or kerosine lighting before then.

As for having access to automobile transportation, he would have been in his 60s by the time automobiles started to become available.

Other things that you and I take for granted that Rockefeller couldn't even dream of

Audio, video, image, and text instantaneous around the world for free

Even being able to communicate with someone by telephone within the USA was not available until Rockefeller was in his 40s. 

The first international calling (from New York City to London) became available in 1927, just ten years before Rockefeller died at age 97, If he had made such a call then, it would have cost him $1000 in today's money for a three-minute audio call.

It wasn't until the early 1990s that plans from companies like AT&T made it possible to call internationally for less than a dollar a minute.

Today, using the freemium benefits of companies like Skype, any of us can communicate instantly around the world for free (given access to the Internet) with anyone else with audio, video, image, or text.

Anesthesia was not available much before 1850

Can you imagine having to undergo an operation or have a tooth pulled without anesthesia? Before 1850, even the wealthiest, if they dared opt for such a procedure, had to endure excruciating pain. The best surgeons of the time, where not the ones who were precise in their skill but the ones who could "saw off your leg the fastest." 

If Rockefeller wanted to have sex, then he had to accept the risk of having unwanted children

ChatGPT summed it up this way:

In the 1800s in the USA, birth control methods were rudimentary and not widely discussed due to cultural and legal restrictions, like those imposed later by the Comstock Act of 1873. Available methods included:

  1. Withdrawal Method: Also known as coitus interruptus.

  2. Periodic Abstinence: Based on the calendar rhythm method, though understanding of the fertility cycle was limited.

  3. Douching: Post-coital douching with various substances, though its effectiveness was dubious.

  4. Barrier Methods: Some use of condoms made from animal intestines or linen, and diaphragms or cervical caps, though these were not widely accessible or socially accepted.

  5. Lactational Amenorrhea: Relying on breastfeeding as a natural contraceptive, which can delay ovulation.

And to make matters even worse, the Comstock Act of 1873 criminalized the use of the postal service to send any items considered to be "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious," which included pornography, contraceptive devices, and information on sexual education and abortion.

It wasn't until 1960 with the introduction of the birth control pill that women (and men) had a reliable method (other than no sex) to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It took 13 more years before "Row vs. Wade" in 1973 allowed women in the USA to get a legal abortion.

Beyond the wildest fantasies of Rockefeller or any of the visionaries in his time on this earth...



Penicillin available and saves millions of lives.


ENIAC, the first computer. This man is replacing one of 19,000 vacuum tubes that burnt out.


First communication satellite.


Ragdolls are born into the world.


Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, the first mobile phone.


Apple 1, the first successful microcomputer.


GPS for cars.


The Internet morphs into an unstoppable force when it gets it first browser.


The human genome is mapped.


The introduction of the Iphone jumpstarts the ever continuing infiltration of the Internet into the everyday lives of every one on the planet.


The founding of Uber and the beginning of the ride-sharing economy around the world (and let's not forget Airbnb which started in 2008).


ChatGPT inaugurates the arrival of the future and the beginning of the AI chatbot races.


We're now within striking distance of the year when the world reaches "longevity escape velocity." If you're in fairly good health when this arrives, you will then have the option of starting to keep track of you age as you live with energy and vitality for ten centuries or more.

Rockefeller would trade places with you

If John D. Rockefeller, the richest man (measured in dollars) in all of modern history, knew what you've had available in your life up until now, he would be a fool not to step into the shoes of your life if he could. The only possible reason that he would not step into your shoes would be to ignore the absolute wealth that you've had in comparison to his, but to stay attached to the relative wealth in comparison to others. He would have to ignore the fact that, among many other things, if he had made that trade, his daughter Alice would not have died at 13 months and his daughter Bessie would not have died at age of 40.


Think about it. Would you exchange the wonders of the world that you've lived in so far and continue to take advantage of in exchange for $340 billion dollars if you would have to step back in time and be born in 1839 in order to be that rich (in paper money)?

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