Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Economic progress, American-style

... in 1964, Radio Shack sold a stereo system nobody today would want for $379.95. 1964 also happens to be the year my parents started college at the University of Michigan. According to Michigan's Bentley Library, in-state tuition that year for freshmen and sophomores was $140 ($155 for juniors and seniors.) So, a stereo cost more than a year of college in Ann Arbor. Is life so much better now? Yes if you're a middle-class person who wants a stereo. No, if you're a middle-class person who wants a college degree.
-- Jon Chait

1 comment:

  1. When I got out of high school, I picked a component stereo as my graduation present-- amp (no tuner, couldn't afford it), speakers, turntable, and saved pennies to buy a cassette deck. It was like $750 bucks, and my brother two years later (me '73 and him '75) got more than 50% of a 14 foot sail boat for about the same parental contribution.

    What I got for $700 would seem silly today as a stereo for anyone who cared about listening to music. The turntable would still stand up to but the rest--- not so much.

    Electronic stuff generally has become cheaper beyond belief (obviously, computers even more so-- I couldn't have bought the computer I'm typing this on with millions in 1973...).