The Economist just published an amazing chart of “Two Thousand Years In One Chart.” However, the most interesting claim is this: “[o]ver 23% of all the goods and services made since 1AD were produced from 2001 to 2010.” That is from the first product (the fig leaf outfits of Adam and Eve to last year’s Britney Spears CD).
One of the things that I discuss in my torts class with regard to product liability is how products have changed in such a short period of time in the United States. The number and scope of non-essential consumer goods after World War II changed society dramatically. With that change came a move toward strict liability in torts. This was based on the view, in cases like Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co., , 24 Cal.2d 453, 150 P.2d 436 (1944), that products had become more complex and people had less time or ability to appreciate the risks associated with different products.
This chart reflects the exponential growth in products in a breathtaking comparison. Even if the figure is off by a half, it would be chilling.