I bought a new 6,000 BTU air conditioner yesterday. There were a few to
choose from in the $189 price range. We bought our first window shaker
for the bedroom the summer of 1967, one year after we married. I don,t
recall exactly, but it was about $129. More than a weeks pay at the time.
Using an inflation calculator, that is equal to about $850 today. We
really can live better today. We also help the economy in China.
A couple of years later I bought a 16,000 BTU AC for $205. That is
equal to about $1300, but today I can buy that size for $750 or so.
On Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 4:43:09 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
I share in your observation. I've said the same thing about the cost
of window AC units then and now. You think a 60's AC, 6000 BTU was
$129 and you might be right. But I thought they were over $200 back
then. Now you can get them for $100, plus our dollars are worth a
fraction of what they used to be. The ones today are also much
lighter. IDK of any made in the USA anymore either.
Grumble... I was going to mention the Fr*****ch company which
used to heavily advertise they were "made in America", but
I hadn't heard those commercials in a while and, per Wikipedia:
"In 2008, the company moved the bulk of its production to Mexico."
Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
| Using an inflation calculator, that is equal to about $850 today. We
| really can live better today. We also help the economy in China.
Yes and no. It's not all roses. There was a movie
released yesterday documenting the mistreatment
of people in SE Asia that allows us to buy shirts
and pants for less than the cost of the material:
I've also seen documentaries about Apple's exploitation
of people in China, living in dormitories like cattle, with
nets on the windows to prevent suicide. Would you rather
be a poisoned, overworked slave for Apple or live a
subsistence life in the country? I'd prefer the latter.
The workers in China don't know any better. They're
enamored of glitzy materialism.
Another way of looking at that: Would you pay
someone $2/day to paint your house because you
knew they'd accept that pay? How about if the
painter was your friend's kid? Where's the line between
people who are OK to exploit and people who are not?
Many would say that the people in China are lucky to
get $2/day because that's good money for them. It
can certainly be viewed that way, but then why are
they working long hours and trying to jump out of
the dormitory windows if they've hit Easy St.?
Cars are another item that hasn't gone up much
in price. How did that happen? Could it have anything
to do with the decimation of unions in the US?
Your AC is probably not American-made. Most
manufacturing has left the US, while the bought-and-
paid-for Congress greases the wheels for US corporations
to set up factories in 3rd-world countries where they
can ignore human rights and environmental issues.
(I once read that Hewlett Packard had a factory all ready
to open, over the border in Mexico, one week after
NAFTA passed. I wonder how they knew to start work
on it a year or two ahead of time? And now Carly Fiorina
wants to be president. :)
So the AC prices may be good for you, but what about
the people who can't get by on two minimum wage jobs?
The one thing that seems to keep going up dramatically
is food. A tomato can cost $5/pound these days, and that's
for the genetically modified ones that are always ketchup
red, always tasteless, always juiceless and will never ripen.
Food from Peru, Chili and Mexico is no cheaper than food
from California. (I wouldn't buy it anyway, even if it were.)
I'd very much like to see an honest documentary about the
agriculture industry in Peru. Maybe it's honest. Maybe it's
US corporate imperialism destroying the culture and
environment of another country. I really have no idea.
What I do know is that they're producing an awfully lot
of food for the US market that didn't used to exist.
I don't mean to criticize you. I just bought some new
shorts last week at Target for next-to-nothing. And I
bought linen-cotton shirts at Sears, made in Bangladesh.
But we shouldn't forget that while we enjoy our good
luck there are millions of poor people supporting our
lifestyle. Anyone who's travelled out of the US should be
aware of that. Most of the world lives *very* poor. If
"Juan Valdez" got a fair price for his coffee then we'd
have to pay a lot more for ours. It's just simple math.
Fortunately for us, or maybe unfortunately, we don't
have to know how Juan Valdez lives in order to enjoy
his coffee. It's the American myth that Herbert Marcuse
so colorfully called the Toilet Assumption: If you don't
see it then it's not there. :)
A well thought out post, I have to say. It makes a person feel like such
an insignificant speck on the face of the Earth because we don't always
have the choices we want, and while we as individuals have to do the
best we can to take care of ourselves, at times, in the process of doing
that we end up having to buy our "stuff" from countries who practically
have slave labor wages. The label may say "made in Bangladesh", but who
really knows when they buy such a product if that's a good or bad thing?
Even if we did know what it meant, we still have to make our dollars
What time period are you using? I bought a Toyota in 2007 and replaced
it in 2011 after an unfortunate encounter with a snow plow. The second
was a few thousand more even after subtracting the cost of the radio the
first one was lacking.
On a longer time frame, the equivalent of a $2000 1957 Chevrolet 210
would put you up in the mid-20's today.
How do you mean? The lower price may make it easier for them to buy.
OTOH, these units used to be made in Edison New Jersey and my company
sold them $1million a year in parts. Business gone.
I'm not sure who to blame. I was at the supplier meetings at Frigidaire
when they showed us the competing units made in Korea at the time. Get
the price down or we can't sell them. As a group, all the suppliers cut
prices and kept it going for a few more years. Then the inevitable
happened and the plant closed. With US labor both in their own plant and
the vendor's plants the cost was too high to compete.
The consumer could buy a foreign made product cheaper so they voted with
Right now the US dollar is very strong. That's good right? It is good
if you are traveling abroad. Go to Canada and vacation at a 20%
discount. Oh, two of our largest customers are in Canada and the choose
not to pay us a 30% premium. At least two jobs lost in my plant.
Two reasons. Crops from California are not doing well because of the
weather. Reason #2 is we want peaches in February. Many people have no
idea what real fruit tastes like.
| > So the AC prices may be good for you, but what about
| > the people who can't get by on two minimum wage jobs?
| How do you mean? The lower price may make it easier for them to buy.
Yes, but now they don't have a job. We used to
have tariffs to keep domestic products on par with
foreign goods. Now the multi-national corporations
are competing by finding the cheapest labor to exploit.
People like Thomas Friedman at the NYT would have
us believe that's inevitable "globalism", but that's just
| Two reasons. Crops from California are not doing well because of the
| weather. Reason #2 is we want peaches in February. Many people have no
| idea what real fruit tastes like.
I'm not talking about current produce or peaches
from Chile. As I said, I wouldn't buy produce from
Chile, anyway. I don't trust the way it's grown in
foreign countries. I won't buy it at all from
stores that don't label the place of origin.
Tomatoes right now, from greenhouses
in the next state, are $4 and $5/pound. They haven't
been getting cheaper in the summer. Brussel
sprouts have gone from $2 to $3.50 in the last 4-5
years. They almost never go back down after
they've once gone up. Fish and beef are prohibitive.
Cheese has gone much higher. The raisins I buy have
gone up 50% in the past two years or so. I haven't
done any sort of scientific survey, but it seems to
me that food just keeps jumping, based on what I pay
for things that I've been buying all along.
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