Have you noticed that people frequently use “the Past” to mean “the 1950s?” In this discussion the 50s, and innovation since then, are the explicit topic of the conversation, but this doesn’t prevent invective about the various centuries of prior human history from creeping in.
More interesting: various comments are made about the unpleasantness of 50s cuisine. I believe these comments are true, but I wonder if the terribleness of the food in the 50s wasn’t related to the magnificent innovations Krugman et al are so awed by. This was, after all, an era in which prophets routinely heralded the imminent replacement of meals by nutritive pills. That this has never seemed an attractive prospect to anyone before or since the middle of the 20th century perhaps offers some insight into the tastiness of that unhappy era’s food.