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A Simple Test

From the comments of this post by Don Boudreaux:

But comparing the present population with those hourly workers that benefited from the prosperous 60′s and 70′s in this country the current hourly labor force is much, much worse off.

I’m in no mood to rehash the debate on Tyler Cowen’s Great Stagnation thesis, or to sort through all of the facts and figures about changes in living standards. I could spend the entire next year blogging it, yet not a single person would alter their present views on things, plus I am interested in some other things too.

So, I’ll just pose a simple question: ask an hourly worker if they would prefer living in today’s awful world at today’s awful wages and use them to buy today’s awful goods and today’s awful medical care, or whether they will take the wages that prevailed in 1968 to use them to buy homes, clothes, medical care (remember ulcers?), electronics, books, computers, etc. that were only available then.

You might say, of course, no one would choose that. I think a better question is this: would you take today’s wages, and then be forced to buy only the goods that existed back in 1968, even at the lower 1968 prices? What share of folks would take that deal?

One Response to “A Simple Test”

  1. Michael says:

    Well, I am looking for a new car, but I think the answer is still a resounding no deal.

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