That’s a picture from Turin, Italy. I stumbled across it at Elizabeth Scalia’s Facebook page. I felt compelled to pass it along. * * * * * * * Antifragile arrived on my iPad this morning. I’m ten pages into it. Very good so far; just 500+ pages to go. * * * * * * * Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek takes up a theme that I’ve heard Thomas Sowell hammer on: the middle class is better off today than it was, say, 50 years ago. Boudreaux has developed a simple, yet powerful, set of anecdotal evidence to back up the claim: comparing 1950s wages and the cost of Sears products with today’s wages and the cost of similar products, thereby determining how many hours you had to work to obtain such creaturely comforts. Very interesting results. Sample:
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Sears’s lowest-priced 30″ four-burner electric range, with bottom oven, was priced, in 1956, at $129.95. (You can find this range on page 1049 of the 1956 Sears catalog.) Home Depot sells a 30″ four-burner electric range, with bottom oven, today for $348.00.
The typical American manufacturing worker in 1956, therefore, had to work 129.95/1.89 – or 69 hours – to buy an ordinary kitchen range. His or her counterpart today must work 348.00/19.79 – or 18 – hours to buy the same sized ordinary range.
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