(Cross-post from my other blog, Freedom is Moral.)
You really need to check out the graph of GDP per person for the last 1,000 year in the U.S., Europe, and the rest of the world.
AEI – The most important economic chart in Western civilization – and how it happened.
Then you need to ask yourself why everyone on the planet had a horrible income level since forever until around 1800.
Continue reading “What caused the radical change in the graph of GDP over the last 1,000 years?”
Check out these startup plans described by Michael Wolfe: What are some of the most ridiculous startup ideas that eventually became successful?
Suppose any of these will last longer than their first round of VC funding?
(Cross-post from my other blog, Freedom is Moral.)
The sinking of the Titanic is usually blamed on that careless, horrible Captain Smith and the greedy, capitalist shipowner who didn’t want the expense or inconvenience or clutter of enough lifeboats. Rarely discussed is the role of the regulators in the tragedy.
Chris Berg points out in his Wall Street Journal article a year ago, The Real Reason for the Tragedy of the Titanic, that the regulators, the British Board of Trade, required all boats over 10,000 metric tons to have 16 lifeboats. It didn’t matter how many passengers were on board. Just put 16 lifeboats on.
Was the Titanic in compliance? Yes.
Continue reading “Role of regulatory failure in the sinking of the Titanic”
(Cross-post from my other blog Freedom Is Moral.)
That would be capitalism.
I, for one, am thrilled to not live as my great-great-grandparents did. I’m not into subsistence agriculture, loosing half my children in their infancy, or facing a life expectancy of 30 years.
John Mackey has expanded that idea in his book, Conscious Capitalism.
Carpe Diem has a quote from the author in their post, Quotation of the day: Capitalism has lifted humanity out of the dirt and is greatest value creator in history of the world Continue reading “What economic system has lifted humanity out of the dirt?”
The change overwhelming us is simultaneously exciting, frightening, thrilling, unsettling, clear, and confused. We have a scary and exciting future with incredible opportunities that we can only vaguely see.
How to make sense of it?
Two writers more than all others have helped me as I slowly sort things out: Seth Godin and Walter Russell Mead.
I’d like to highlight a few articles from Mr. Mead to give a sense of the major trends facing us. He regularly refers to the breakdown of the “blue model.”
The way we’ve done things since World War II isn’t working anymore. None of us have any idea today what the replacement way of doing things will look like.
Previous post provided a deep introduction from one of Mr. Mead’s articles..
For a very long read that provides deep explanation, check out The Once and Future Liberalism.
The article goes into great detail about the factors that have collapsed the ‘blue model’ in the private sector. The government sector has yet to deal with this: Continue reading “Making sense of the radical change surrounding us – a long-term perspective – 2”
The time you have to invest getting from here to there is a major cost of travel. We are so astoundingly spoiled today since we can end our day anywhere in the U.S. starting from anywhere else. Within 24 or 30 hours you can get to just about any country on the planet.
We have to work to remember that speed is a relatively new development. For most of human history the huge time needed to get from here to there was a severe limit on travel and commerce.
A post in Mother Nature Network, How fast could you travel across the U.S. in the 1800s, highlights maps that show travel times to get across the country.
For perspective, the maps are dawn in terms of travel time from New York City. I pulled together some of the travel times to show the improvements in speed.
Continue reading “Increase in speed of travel in 1800s”
A frequent comment at several blogs I follow and discussion on this blog is the dramatic improvement in life generated by technology over the last few decades. Look here, here, here, and here. For a longer term perspective, look here.
Don Boudreaux and Mark Perry expand the discussion beyond technology to explain the middle class is much better off today than in the 1970s. Check out their article in the Wall Street Journal – The Myth of a Stagnant Middle Class.
The claim they are addressing is the idea that only the richest people are better off over the last 30 years:
Continue reading “American middle class isn’t stagnating but is better off than in the ‘70s”
The Homestead Act, signed into law 150 years ago in May 1862, opened up the American frontier.
This was the deal: Claim 160 acres of land, farm it for five years and then the government gave you title for no charge.
Does that mean it was free land? Not a chance.
The price of admission was extremely steep.
Continue reading “Price of admission to the American frontier was steep – part 2”
Café Hayek takes a leisurely tour though his newly acquired copy of the 1956 Fall/Winter Sears catalog and shares the preliminary results in The Future: Back to the Past.
Maybe things weren’t so great in the good ol’ days.
Continue reading “Hours of labor to buy basic home appliances – 1956 and 2012”
Carpe Diem points to three places to find old catalogs on-line: Vintage catalogs back to 1933 now available online
- WishbookWeb.com has an assortment of Christmas catalogs from Sears, Spiegel, Penney and Wards from the ‘40s through 1988. The oldest are a 1933 Spiegel and 1937 Sears catalog.
Radio Shack Catalogs has two sets available:
So what can you do with these old catalogs? Consider this:
Continue reading “Old catalogs available online, or, how about a cell phone for $2,700 in 2012 dollars?”
Don’t ever make the mistake of projecting into the past what we know today about the result of an event. – from Prof. Gary Gallagher.
That’s a rough paraphrase of a comment by Prof. Gallagher in his course on the American Civil War from Great Courses.
That’s a powerful concept.
Continue reading “Don’t project backward”
Graph the inflation-adjusted cost of air travel over the last 33 years – it looks like a straight line down until a couple of years ago and then a slight increase. Average ticket prices today are about 60% of what they were in 1980. Cool.
Mark Perry graphed the data from Airlines for America in his post, Even with baggage fees, the “miracle of flight” remains a real bargain; average 2011 airfare was 40% below 1980 average.
Continue reading “Cost of travel by air has dropped a lot over the last several decades”
What will develop next after the astounding technology changes of the last 30 years? We have no idea.
Previous post described my brain stretch from an article, The Next Great Growth Cycle, by Mark Mills.
His main point is we can no more tell today where technology will be in 30 years than we could predict in 1980 where we are today.
He then points out three major technology transitions that are already here and will have a huge impact in the future:
Continue reading “The technology revolution has just begun – part 2”
It is hard for my brain to stretch that far, but when I try really hard, I can grasp that the astounding technology change we’ve seen in the last 30 years is no more than the opening chapter for the future.
My latest brain stretch is courtesy of The Next Great Growth Cycle, by Mark Mills.
He describes the astounding technology growth from 1950 through 1980 that left people wondering what could possibly come next.
Sitting in 1980…
Continue reading “The technology revolution has just begun – part 1”
Every August, Beloit College releases their Beloit College Mindset List. It is a fun list of things that have changed since the entering students were born. It’s always helpful for some perspective.
Here are a few items that caught my interest in terms of technology change:
2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
9 They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
Continue reading “What changes can we see through the lives of entering college students?”