Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Good Old Days

There is a tendency for us to look back on the "good old days" with nostalgia, some of it warranted, and some not.

When it comes to prices, it's easy to think back to a time when gas was less than a buck, when a loaf of bread only cost 50 cents, or other easy comparisons. What we tend to forget (and not take into account) is how much time it takes us to earn the money to buy those items. If prices are adjusted for inflation and (average) wages, almost every product we purchase today is less expensive (in terms of how long it takes to make money to purchase an item) than it was in the past.

In no other area is this trend more pronounced than in electronics. This great blog post illustrates just how much our purchasing power has increased over the years, partly due to ever-improving technology, and partly due to our increased earning potential.

To summarize:
A typical worker in 1964 earning an average wage would have to work 152 hours (nearly a month of full-time work) to buy a $380 stereo system (and that's not even taking taxes and other withholdings into account). I'm talking a state-of-the-art system, with a record player included!

Now, a typical worker today earning an average wage working those same 152 hours could purchase:
1. Panasonic Home Theater System for $500.
2. Insignia 50″ Plasma HDTV for $700.
3. Apple 8GB iPod Touch for $175.
4. Sony 3D Blu-ray Disc Player for $219.
5. Sony 300-CD Changer for $209.
6. Garmin Portable GPS for $139.
7. Sony 14.1-Megapixel Digital Camera for $200.
8. Dell Inspiron Laptop Computer for $450.
9. TiVo High-Definition Digital Video Recorder for $300.

Considering that none of these items (or anything approaching their quality) were even available in 1964, I'd say that it's quite an astounding transformation over 46 years. I don't know about you, but I think the times we live in are pretty amazing.

1 comment:

Malinda said...

That is amazing! Mostly I'm wondering why we still have this crappy camera. :)