The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The World Keeps Getting Better

Don Boudreaux has been reading the Sears Fall/Winter Catalog from 1975, and he's also been doing a bit of math:

Sears’ lowest-priced 10-inch table saw: 52.35 hours of work required in 1975; 7.34 hours of work required in 2006.

Sears’ lowest-priced gasoline-powered lawn mower: 13.14 hours of work required in 1975 (to buy a lawn-mower that cuts a 20-inch swathe); 8.56 hours of work required in 2006 (to buy a lawn-mower that cuts a 22-inch swathe. Sears no longer sells a power mower that cuts a swathe smaller than 22 inches.)

Sears Best freezer: 79 hours of work required in 1975 (to buy a freezer with 22.3 cubic feet of storage capacity); 39.77 hours of work required in 2006 (to buy a freezer with 24.9 cubic feet of storage capacity; this size freezer is the closest size available today to that of Sears Best in 1975.)

Sears Best side-by-side fridge-freezer: 139.62 hours of work required in 1975 (to buy a fridge with 22.1 cubic feet of storage capacity); 79.56 hours of work required in 2006 (to buy a comparable fridge with 22.0 cubic feet of storage capacity.)

There's more at Cafe Hayek.


  • Know what's prolly the awesomest part about this? No one shops at Sears anymore because it's too expensive. In 1975 it was the best, and cheapest, place to buy basically anything. Now Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc. undercut it by far. Also, things like refridgerators are much better now in terms of how long they last and how efficiet they are. So you save even more. Living now is sweet.

    By Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe, at 7:45 PM  

  • Thank you China for providing us with all these low cost goods for us to enjoy. This trade policy, where we can spend less for more and just owe and pay someday down the line... who looks at deficits anyway?

    It's like the processed food nowadays -- such an abundance of good things. We can kill ourselves with consumption, and worry later when the bill comes due.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:58 AM  

  • In fact, a few years back, an analogy re. cheaper gas prices here might have been viewed as a good thing too.

    You have to think of these things long term big picture Paul, not just about your household or when you are in the market for freezer or fridge. Your size and price comparisons are cute but limited, not true economic analysis, my friend.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:01 AM  

  • I think freezers are renewable resources.

    Stop posting anonymously.

    By Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe, at 4:13 PM  

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