Purchasing power of an average worker in 1975 compared to now

Have a post up at my other blog, Nonprofit Update, about a fun analysis by Don Boudreaux looking at the comparative purchasing power of a non-supervisory employee working at average wages now compared to 1975.

I can’t think of a better time to be alive. Or, is the middle class better off today than in 1975?

He looks at items from a 1975 Sear catalogue and uses the average pay rate to convert the prices to the number of hours a person needs to work to buy the item.  Then he compares to the number of hours to buy a reasonably comparable item today.

Fun illustration: in 1975, it took 71.3 hours of work to buy a 35mm SLR camera. Today, 4.8 hours buys a Nikon Coolpix 12.0 mp camera. 

This is a fun discussion, a good economic analysis, and a great tool for comparing the cost of things across time.

Check out the post above for more examples and a link to the full PowerPoint presentation.

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