A true gift: 1964 compared to 2010

It seems that many views and opinions lack a proper reference. Without such a reference, the true meaning of some measure is hard to discern. The economy and personal finance seem especially removed from real world references and instead seem to often be perceived against dreams and fantasies. Mark Perry illustrates an example of a real world reference that makes what we have now seem to be truly a dream and a fantasy made real. The Magic and Miracle of the Marketplace: Christmas 1964 vs. 2010 – There’s No Comparison.

He links to the BLS inflation calculator and to the WishbookWeb where you can find Christmas Catalogs from 1933 to 1988. When looking at Sears console color TV’s in the 1964, the price is somewhat more than $5,000 in today’s dollars.

Bottom Line: For a consumer or household spending $750 in 1964, all they would have been able to afford was a console color TV from the Sears Christmas catalog. A consumer or household spending that same amount of inflation-adjusted dollars today ($5,300) would be able buy able to furnish their entire kitchen with 8 brand-new appliances (refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, range, washer, dryer, microwave and blender) and buy 9 state-of-the-art electronic items (laptop, GPS, camera, home theater, plasma HDTV, iPod Touch, Blu-ray player, 300-CD changer and a Tivo recorder). And of course, even a billionaire in 1964 wouldn’t have been able to purchase many of the items that even a teenager can afford today, e.g. laptop, GPS, digital camera.

So when you hear all the complaints about how great it was and what those evil corporations have done to us, the unemployment, and on and on, keep in mind that there is a lot to be thankful for due to the “magic of the marketplace.”

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