Creeping normalcy

Written by Jared Diamond

Politicians use the term "creeping normalcy" to refer to slow trends concealed within noisy fluctations.  If the economy, schools, traffic congestion, or anything else is deteriorating o­nly slowly, it's difficult to recognize that each successive year is o­n the average slightly worse than the year before, so o­ne's baseline standard for what constitutes "normalcy" shifts gradually and inperceptibly.  It may take a few decades o­n a long sequence of such slight year-to-year changes before people realize, with a jolt, that conditions used to be much better several decades ago, and that what is acdepted as normalcy has crept downward.

Jared Diamond, Collapse, p. 425.

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