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Toy Progress

From HumanProgress.org: Here are snapshots of two of items that Brad DeLong describes as “toys” that, unlike in the past, today fill our homes yet which, according to DeLong and many others, do little to improve our living standards.  (HT Jim Rose)


Note: HumanProgress.org uses different nominal-wage data than I normally use.  For information on the compensation of workers in the U.S., I prefer to use the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s measure of “Average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees: total private” – a consistent data set going back to 1964.  According to this data set, the average nominal hourly wage for such workers in 1964 was $2.53.  Today it’s $20.80.  The upshot is that in 1964 the typical American (“production and nonsupervisory”) worker had to toil (excluding taxes) a total of 1,265 hours – nearly 32 weeks – to earn enough income to purchase the 1964 version of this “toy,” while today the typical American worker must work only 46 hours to earn enough income to purchase today’s (far, far better) version of this “toy.”  That’s a reduction in required work time of 96 percent.