Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Good Old Days Are Now: Radio Shack Version

In 1964, here's what the average American consumer could afford after working 152 hours (almost a full month) at the average hourly wage then of $2.50: a "moderately priced, excellent stereo system" from Radio Shack on sale for $379.95. 


In contrast, the typical consumer today working 152 hours at the current average hourly wage of $19 could afford this "cornucopia" of electronic goods:


Read more here at the Enterprise blog.

13 Comments:

At 6/22/2010 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or he could save $2800 and do without a lot of interruptions and junk.

 
At 6/22/2010 9:37 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Or he could save $2800 and do without a lot of interruptions and junk"...

Is ignorance bliss anon?

When I'm needing something electronic I look to PriceWatch and have for some five years or so...

I'm shocked occassionally at the deep drop in prices of almost all things computer and computer related...

Consider the price pressures on all things electronic...

What would people have given to have 3D television in their houses just a couple of years ago?

Now consider the price of a Samsung 55 inch LCD 3D television...

Rather amazing I think...

 
At 6/22/2010 9:55 AM, Blogger AJ said...

Mark, what if he doesn't have a job? Then how many hours would he have to work?

 
At 6/22/2010 10:24 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Then how many hours would he have to work?"...

Shouldn't that question be directed at YOUR President?

After all the Obama administration and this Congress are already giving away free cell phones...

 
At 6/22/2010 10:40 AM, Blogger Steve Blitz said...

ah yes the goods are cheaper, because they are made where labor is being paid at the same nominal wage as 1964. what the ad misses is that now the hardware is cheap but the software, the music tv movies apps etc, are only available on a subscription basis and sometimes more than one is necessary. so perhaps all in, it was cheaper then. but at least then, the price paid went to support further domestic consumption.

 
At 6/22/2010 10:44 AM, Blogger jeremy h. said...

AJ said... "Mark, what if he doesn't have a job? Then how many hours would he have to work?"

AJ seems to be implying that unemployment was not a problem in 1964. Even in the middle of an extremely long (8+ years) economic expansion, the UR was still 5%.

 
At 6/22/2010 10:49 AM, Blogger jeremy h. said...

Steve Blitz said... "what the ad misses is that now the hardware is cheap but the software, the music tv movies apps etc, are only available on a subscription basis and sometimes more than one is necessary."

Did the 1964 stereo come with an unlimited supply of free LPs? Because it doesn't even appear to have an AM tuner.

 
At 6/22/2010 10:52 AM, Blogger rjs said...

hmmm...i bought a 64 dodge dart for $550. drove it for 90,000 miles, did all the repair work myself because it was so simple, and sold it for $225 six years later...could you do that today?

 
At 6/22/2010 1:34 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

You know, low-cost but better has come to militaries outside the USA, as well.

Today, any punk with a missile can prevent the US Marines from landing--their ships will get sunk before they hit the beach. Surface ships are sitting ducks for cheap missiles and torpedoes. As a result, Marines expect not to make beach landings anymore (see cover story LA Times, yesterday).

Of course, as North Korea just proved again, any sub with a torpedoe can take out a surface ship.

And some guys on a motorcycle and armed with RPGs can fry troops inside a tank or Bradley.

Lower costs and better military equipment is available on world markets.

 
At 6/22/2010 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still using the Scott Amplifier I bought around 1967. Had to replace the turntable, though.

I just took the figure MJP had in the piece.

hmmm...I bought a 04 Toyota Prius for $22,000. Drove it for 149,000 miles so far, have not repaired anything yet: could you do that in 64?

I assume the Dodge Dart was not new when you bought it.

 
At 6/23/2010 3:29 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"what the ad misses is that now the hardware is cheap but the software, the music tv movies apps etc, are only available on a subscription basis and sometimes more than one is necessary."

Oh yea, you're right...but wait! other than vinyl records and broadcast AM/FM and TV, none of that other great stuff was even available then, so what's your point?

" ...but at least then, the price paid went to support further domestic consumption."

Actually, I think the price paid still goes to support further domestic consumption.

Maybe you meant to lament the non-domestic origin of most electronics these days. If that's the case you probably should have said "...price paid went to support further domestic production".

The truth is, there is just no money to be made in electronic hardware these days, so it's good that resources aren't wasted trying to make such stuff in this country.

 
At 6/24/2010 6:47 AM, Anonymous grant said...

Benjamin:
The Russians have developed a larger far superior and more sophisticated anti shipping missile than the US with a much bigger warhead.It's a real threat to the large ships of the us navy.Research is needed to develop a new missile to either counter it or an anti missile to destroy it.
India has this missile and so do other second and third world countries. Wouldn't it be just wonderful if Vietnam sank US nuclear carrier with one of these missiles.

 
At 11/04/2012 12:36 PM, OpenID republicoflyniezia said...

It might be better if the author could have provided the details of how it costs to buy almost the exact equivalent hi-fi system now: turntable (they still exist), cartridge, amp and speakers at a roughly mid-priced level.

The thing is in comparing it with modern goods, you're hardly comparing it with like-for-like.

As for how many hours you'd have to work... not so easy if you've no job. Or how many hours does your typical Chinese worker need to have the same stuff?

 

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