Wednesday, January 14, 2009

VCRs: 187.3 Hours in 1981 vs. 3.8 Hours Today

Cost of a Sears VCR in 1981: $1389.88, or 187.3 hours of work (23.4 days or 4.7 weeks) at the average hourly wage of $7.42 (total private industries).

Cost of a Sears VCR/DVD combo in 2009: $69.99 or 3.8 hours of work at the average hourly
wage of $18.36.

Bottom Line: If we paid the same price today as in 1981 (187.3 hours, at the average hourly wage of $18.36), the 2009 Sears VCR/DVD above would cost us almost $3,500. Or equivalently, consumers in 1981 actually paid the equivalent of $3,500 in today's dollars. Or we could say that the typical consumer today would earn enough money on a single day before lunch (3.8 hours) to purchase a brand new VCR/DVD player, and the typical consumer in 1981 had to work full-time for almost five weeks to earn enough money to purchase a VCR then.


At 1/14/2009 9:49 PM, Blogger wcw said...

Zomg. The recession is over.

Hey, tell you what: you go long SPX futures. Say to a notional tune of 5x your net worth.

Get back to us on how that works out. And as you start to lie extravagantly, recall: some of us know more about margin than you.

At 1/14/2009 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only that but I had to replace a rubber pulley band inside a 1983 model VCR once. The inside was totally jam packed with electronics (at least 15 boards) and literally hundreds of moving parts with over a dozen motors (that I counted) and whatnot. It must have been a nightmare to design yet alone build. Mid nineties I saw a VCR in a shop that had a clear cover for display and they claimed only a few (5 - 10?) moving parts. The inside was nearly empty with all electronics on one small board - mainly IC's of course.

At 1/15/2009 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now please post the cost of a grade school education
and a college education in
1981 and today.

At 1/15/2009 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1981 Video Cassette Recorder should be compared to today's Blu Ray Recorder.

At 1/15/2009 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Blue Ray player still doesn't cost $3500! No matter how you look at it, we're richer than ever, we have more things and access to more services than ever before.

Yet for some reason certain people just can't get over the fact that others have more. Instead of enjoying their opulent lifestyle, and ANYONE living in the US has an opulent lifestyle compared to the world's poor, they're consumed by envy and greed for other people's money. Just shows you how messed up some people are, they'll never be happy because there will always be someone richer.

At 1/15/2009 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet, even those these goods are so much cheaper in terms relative to income, consumers still end up using credit to pay for them. Why is that? Even though it cost much more back then, people at least used cash. I think it really highlights the change in attitude towards consumption of goods.

At 1/15/2009 2:18 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

This is probably the only one where quality has stood still at low levels.

Poor quality then, poor quality today.

Instead of enjoying their opulent lifestyle, and ANYONE living in the US has an opulent lifestyle compared to the

This is not a third world country. Comparing us to one would be apples-oranges.

At 1/15/2009 8:18 PM, Blogger Craig Howard said...

The general tone of the comments in this series of posts seems to go something like this:

"Yeah, so what? The TV shows available for taping in 1981 were of much higher quality than today's. What've you got to say about THAT? How can we possibly compare anything to anything?"

Sheesh. Now I know why they did away with the analogy part of the SAT.

At 1/15/2009 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


These posts are growing old.

They grew old ten posts ago.

Please start posting actual content again. Please?


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