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I'll go with medical technology. Heart attacks, strokes, cancers are all still deadly, but not nearly to the degree they were in 1960. We have made amazing advances in surgery, vaccines, treatments, etc. that have extended the lifespan of humans well into the 70s and 80s. Pacemakers that used to be the size of a small book and left a lump in your armpit now are tiny discs with two wires and a ten year battery. Makes you wonder what we'll be able to cure 50 years from now.
Many things have changed tremendously in the last fifty years. Technology is perhaps the greatest change. Computers were not available and that alone has changed the world. Today we can talk to people on the other side of the globe using a computer.
Family dynamics have also changed a lot over the last fifty years. There are more divorces these days with more children experiencing step parents.
Attitudes have also changed a lot over the last fifty years. There was the Civil Rights Movements in the 1960's which changed the way people in the United States are treated.
I'm not even 30 - but with two little kids one change I regret is that I cannot let my kids run out the door and play down the neighborhood like I did when I was growing up. I hate the term "play date" but this has replaced the days of "If you can't hear me from the front porch you've gone too far."
I know there are still neighborhoods in America that are safe - and when we are out of condo life and into a house - it will be something I look for while house-shopping, but I still think this is something that will never be the same.
Looking at this from less of a personal view and more of a political view, I see two major changes.
First, the United States is a totally different country in terms of its racial dynamics. Civil rights for all is an accepted idea now. On a different note, the country is now much more of an immigrant nation than it was in 1960 (when immigration was at an all-time low).
Second, the Cold War is over. In 1960, the Cold War was in full swing. The Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis were on the horizon. Today, we live in a much different world with much different threats.
You don't actually mention WHAT has changed in the past 50 years, but just looking around my house, I can name a few things that were not available in 1960 (when I was only five years old). My 42 inch flat screen color TV was non-existent then. Very few people could even afford a small color TV; most people were content with black-and-white since nearly all TV shows were filmed in B&W. My DVD player, satellite receiver and even my old laser disc player and VCR had not been invented; cassette players were in their infancy. My computer and printer were only available to large corporations--not for personal home use. My cell phone would have been replaced by a rotary phone--and my parents still had a party line in 1960. My leather sofa and recliner cost only a fraction of what it would have cost in 1960. My central air conditioning and heating was not standard with most homes in 1960. And these are just a few items in my living room. Modern conveniences and electronics have certainly advanced greatly during the past two generations.
In the last fifty years here in the United States, there has been incredible changes. Perhaps the greatest change has been in technology. The best example of this is computers and cell phones. Fifty years ago, there were no personal computers, no cell phones and the only video game around might have been Pong. Today, computers and cell phones are common. The widespread use of computers, cell phones and other technology has had a dramatic effect in almost everyone's life, particularly communication and the accessibility of information. This technology has shrunk the world to an incredible degree.
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