Some data suggest "almost no progress"
I was looking at some reality of the life in the U.S. of the "dirty 1930s":
(Dow Jones went from 50 or so to 16,000, i.e. by the factor of 300+, or the average 7.5% growth in these 80 years.)
Most employed people could buy this home (at least all the material) for 1 annual salary. Hat tip: Joseph Sykora
The only exception I am able to see now is the cigarette lighter for $0.39 – almost $12 current dollars in my conversion which would be too much – but that's it. Well, you may look at the autos: there aren't any cheap models available so they start at prices that are (at most) twice higher than the current ones and there are lots of very expensive cars.
But in some sense, they are anomalies. Well, some of the food entries looked significantly more expensive than today, but not all of them (please add your detailed comments).
Am I missing some major changes? Is that right that aside from the new products they didn't have at all (and we do, thanks to the scientific and technological progress) and from the (hopefully) higher quality of products we enjoy today, there has been no major progress in "how many products a person may buy for his or her annual salary"?
Note that the U.S. population in 1933 was about 125 million, i.e. 2.5 times lower than today. Again, you may calculate 2.50.0125=1.0115 i.e. there has been a 1.15% average annual increase of the population. So of course that the total real GDP has increased at least by this factor. But the income per capita etc. in some real terms – I don't see a dramatic difference.
If you do see a difference, what is it? If you don't see a major difference, what is your interpretation? Is the 80-year near-stagnation inevitable? Was it started (and was the progress stopped) by the incorporation of various welfare mechanisms to the government since the 1930s? Would we see a similar stagnation in the previous decades or centuries as well? Is technology the only place where the progress has been genuine?
Curious about your views.
Incidentally, China began its assault against the Bitcoin. Baidu, the Chinese Google, stopped accepting it. Alan Greenspan also said it was a bubble without any intrinsic value. Within days, the Bitcoin dropped from the maximum above $1,200 to something above $600. That's what I call "volatility".
Pilsner citizens like myself will have to memorize 170 new names of the stops of the public transportation. Over 50% of the stops are being renamed these days. Some bizarre abbreviations, no longer existing institutions and structures etc. were generally replaced by more common-sense names. In some case, collections of stops that are close to each other were given the same name. Numbers of hospitals were replaced by the "hospital name of the suburb" format. In most cases, I think it is an improvement – just for $20,000, we are told.
Nelson Mandela was an exceptionally famous warrior for the rights of his tribes and people – one who didn't use the razor to cut the throats even though he could. He was rewarded by the Order of the Friendship by the Czechoslovak communist regime in 1988. For me, he was a part of the anti-West movement and propaganda as I remember it which is why you should expect somewhat mixed feelings.
An "excessively sensitive" microphone has recorded some fun dialogue of the current Czech prime minister Rusnok (PM) with his ministers in the Parliament. It was actually aired on the Czech Public News channel, ČT24 (where I was speaking about the IPCC report in late September). The responsibility for the leak belongs to the Parliament – they agreed that the TV would air "everything". ;-)
PM: You ox [dude], to make things worse, Mandela just died right now again, too.As you can see, the current Czech politicians aren't exactly fighting for the right to represent their country on Mandela's funeral. Hours later, the PM would send a text message apologizing for the words he picked to refer to Mandela's death but it's still not clear who will represent the country at the funeral because he's very, very busy. ;-)
Picek [defense minister]: Who will fly to the funeral?
PM: I hope that the president will. You ox [dude], I am dreading [it gives me shivers of fear] that it may have to be myself.
Picek: Because they want to do it in 10 days or less.
PM: It's on Saturday 14th. The day when we have the dinner. Yup. And I also have some extra lunch on that day. And then the dinner. So, you ox [dude], I live in fear whether I will have to fly there. I don't want to go at all. Nada zilch, not at all. On the 19th, I have to go to Brussels again. But Mandela. That's a shit-through [trouble] again. You ox [dude], I don't know, but also... The distance is like a pig [it is a hell of a distance]; I would have to take a commercial flight or something.
Picek: Nope, you could fly with a special.
PM: You ox [dude], who will pay for that?
Picek: I will pay for it.
PM: So the budget will survive it this year. But it's horrible. I hope that Miloš [the president] is heated up [eager, horny] so that he could go somewhere again and that he will. But the doctors will surely tell him not to go.
Picek: Can you tell me how will he climb the airstair?
PM: I don't know.
Fischer [finance minister, ex-PM]: You know, he has trouble with staircases. There may be a shit-through [trouble] over there, man.
PM: Oh, please, this has no depth. He has cancelled the trip to Paris on the 20th.
Picek: Won't he fly there, either?
PM: So he will probably not fly, so that's in the asshole [it is a problem, I am f***ed]... Perhaps Štěch [spokesman of the Czech Senate].
The current government "in the state of resignation" may be an apolitical one but it's sort of closer to my heart than the government of ANO and social democrats (and perhaps Christian Democrats) we will get soon. Czech top politicians generally have the courage – well, it's not too much courage because they reflect the Czechs' general pragmatic opinions – to ignore the winds of the political correctness and the staggering hypocrisy ignited by it.
Right now, the death of a 95-year-old South African ex-politician is presented as the most important event in the whole world, something that should perhaps gain a higher priority than the work and fun activity of any person in the world. Unlike ultra-PC-on-steroids politicians like Barack Obama, the Czech PM clearly disagrees with this hype and I am sure he is far from being the only one. I was pleased not just by Rusnok's frankness but also by his apparent desire to save the taxpayer money.