Technology has enabled incredible productivity gains evident in American households in terms of the hours of work it takes to afford a typical set of appliances. The following chart displays the collapse in the number of hours of work it takes to acquire washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, stoves and other items including an all important color TV. Yes-the retail price of these items has gone up by 78% since 1959 thanks to inflation. But, and more importantly, the number of hours of work it takes to buy them has plummeted by 81%! What took nearly 6 months worth of wages in 1959 only takes slightly more than 4 weeks today. (I have taken data from Mark Perry’s Carpe Diem blog to prepare the chart below). There are even more productivity gains to come with these appliances as wireless technologies will be used to connect and manage all these household devices. Jeb B. Terry, Sr. Oct. 6, 2013.
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