Times of adjustment

Progressive history: 'the past was generally worse'
Cyclical history: 'certain points in the past were worse for certain things'

These include 'times of adjustment' e.g. when we were beginning to solve some of the problems inherent to living in cities, or problems associated with industrialisation, etc. Life was 'better' after these problems were solved, but was also better before any of them emerged.

Each big change necessitates a period of adjustment and problem solving.

It can be argued that Britain in the Industrial Revolution was encountering the problems of "take-off"; heavy long-term investment - canals, mills, rail­ways, foundries, mines, utilities - was at the expense of current consumption; the generations of workers between 1790 and 1840 sacrificed some, or all, of their prospects of increased consumption to the future.

[E.P. Thompson]
The Making of the English Working Class, p.223

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