Creeping normalcy

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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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