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Times Aren’t ’70s-Bad

Posted By Don Boudreaux On July 17, 2008 @ 9:57 am In History,Standard of Living | Comments Disabled

Here’s a letter of mine sent recently to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

We can debate just how closely the economy of 2008 parallels that of the 1970s (“Today’s crunch feels like ’70s,” July 13).  But one big difference unquestionably – and happily – distinguishes today from the dismal days of disco: no wage and price controls.  This fact alone goes far toward making our prospects today brighter than they were during the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, and Carter.  No inflation camouflaged by government fiat, and no long lines at gasoline stations or anxiety about finding fuel.

Plus, we’re much wealthier today.  Those who doubt this truth can get any Sears catalog from the 1970s, study it, and ask if they’d prefer to use their 2008 incomes to buy 1970s-era products at 1970s prices, or buy today’s products at today’s prices. Even though nominal prices in the 1970s were much lower than prices today, very few persons would choose the 1970s option [1].

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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[1] Those who doubt this truth can get any Sears catalog from the 1970s, study it, and ask if they’d prefer to use their 2008 incomes to buy 1970s-era products at 1970s prices, or buy today’s products at today’s prices. Even though nominal prices in the 1970s were much lower than prices today, very few persons would choose the 1970s option: http://cafehayek.com/2006/01/working_for_sea.html

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