Saturday, December 07, 2013

Salaries and wages since 1932-1934: uniform 30-fold increase

Some data suggest "almost no progress"

I was looking at some reality of the life in the U.S. of the "dirty 1930s":
Incomes and prices in 1932-1934
What I was amazed by is that there seems to be no progress in a vast majority of the entries here. If you just multiply all the prices and wages by a factor of 30 (30 per 80 years corresponds to 300.0125=1.043 i.e. 4.3-percent average annual inflation rate), almost all the entries seem to coincide with the values now, 80 years later!

(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.

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].
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. ;-)

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.


  1. If the cost of the product is largely wages, then that is exactly what you expect.

  2. It's probably a mix of reasons. Quality of those products is definitely one of them. You can always manufacture a better car, cram more technology into it but you're limited by willingness to pay for it. The pricing sweet spot is at a certain percentage of people's salary. They're accustomed to pay this much. When you evaluate prices you have to take quality into account. Today's computers would be impossibly expensive couple decades ago, if you transfered yourself and all your stuff to the 1930s you'd have the potential to become the most powerful guy in the world. Your wealth is astronomical compared to the 1930s standards.

    Another reason why prices of other stuff (food) don't deflate to zero is that the people making them also want to increase their standard of living. If they want the new car they have to price their stuff accordingly. Also it's not a closed system, they have to pay other people for their input (rents, salaries, energy, etc.) and those people also want the new car so they don't deflate price of their input.

    Even when you buy robots to do the job it's still made and maintained by people who are accustomed to increasing standard of living but there is a potential to decrease you dependence on these creatures. Your margins can then skyrocket or prices plumet. However the job can always be done better with better robots and there is always competition so you'll invest the extra money to stay competitive and to keep increasing your standard of living accordingly as others will try to do.

  3. If you check the median and avg price of homes it should be 245k and 321k per the census bureau. Since that is the major cost driver for most family (followed closely by the real cost of healthcare...which is mostly hidden from people because it is an "employer" expense in most cases), the status quo of other products is a reflection of improved efficiencies in production that have been made to offset real price growth in a few key areas. Also, the price of education has spiraled even though salaries have not. An examination of changes in GDP sectors would be more revealing than looking at the price sheets. Price sheets only reflect the market basket of goods that are part of the industrial sector and agricultural sector, two of the most heavily regulated areas in most economies. The cost of regulation generally is not reflected in the prices.

  4. You findings agree completely with those in this article:

    The authors (whose prime interest is in assessing the use of gold as an investment) show that measured in ounces of gold, US per capita pay has not changed during the last 90 years. But then they go a little further ;-)
    : in fact back to the Roman empire at the time of Augustus. There were not many salaried jobs at that time that could be compared to those in modern USA, but they concentrate on one that has not changed in essential respects. Like the US, the Romans had a professional army that was better educated than the average population (in those days a Roman legionnaire had to be able to read and write) and in most ways performed a similar role. They discovered that the pay of a Roman legionary was about 20% of a US private but that of a centurion was about 30% higher than that of a US army captain. This suggest a more egalitarian distribution of pay but not much overall difference.

  5. An insightful explanation but not necessarily a right one. The point is that with a higher productivity, a single person produces more things, so he may also buy more things for his annual salary.

    Except that it isn't the case, at least not radically, of most of the products.

  6. OK, I understand all of that, but agriculture consumes the time of a much smaller percentage of the population today, doesn't it? So even if they keep a standard of living, the prices of food should drop by the same factor by which the percentage of folks in agriculture or food industry dropped.

  7. The Schiller-Case housing index goes back to 1890. Adjusting for inflation, housing prices have not changed much, except of course for the depression and the recent government-induce bubble.

  8. The trends in the US over the last 30 years are ominous. Working class income has fallen steadily, and middle class incomes have stagnated or fallen slightly. Almost half of all American households have incomes so low they don't pay the federal income tax, and almost half of all Americans receive some sort of government assistance. Some of this is retirement pay, but a lot of it is pure welfare to an underclass that has no economic productivity, no work skills of any kind, is functionally illiterate, violent, drug dependent, etc etc. As recently as the 1930s, these would be agricultural workers.

    Besides the economic issues, there is personal freedom. I am 70 years old. The peak in personal freedom for Americans was the early 1960s. I now live in a society that is heavily policed (often violently) with strict speech codes and rigorously enforced standards for beliefs. On the other hand, sexual depravity, drug abuse are freely tolerated.

  9. strictly speaking...Dec 7, 2013, 1:50:00 PM

    Indeed. A good example is steelmaking which has become substantially cheaper due to the basic oxygen process. The productivity per employee-hour has risen by a factor of over 1000 since 1920.

  10. kashyap vasavadaDec 7, 2013, 4:07:00 PM

    Interesting data. I wonder how some countries in Europe have done over the years (say 40 years or so after WW II). I suppose,it will depend on which country you choose. But pick any one. Another lesson of your analysis (which I knew fortunately for years) is that for middle income persons, such as readers of this blog, there is no choice but to save enough, put it in the stock market and do not panic when the market goes down! What do you think?

  11. That's something we've seen in other places too, like Sweden, where the real income is pointing down for the period 1960 - 2010, while the prices for housing, food, clothing, energy aren't lower over that period, so that any nominal gains were eaten by inflation. The improvements in technology and productivity were still much greater: while the number of employees in the private sector for the period 1950 - 2010 is constant, the private businesses grew steadily, while supporting - via constantly increased taxation - a larger and larger number of state employees, retirees and welfare-dependent. It is also quite obvious too that many state-provided services are in some diminishing returns phase. Otherwise, i think people have more free time and live much longer (but i don't think these two things are independent). Also, people work quite a bit longer in their lives, at least the natives.

  12. The dialog is not very well tranlated to English. The English reader will be confused if you translate idioms this way, e.g "distance like a pig", the compellation shoud have been translated rather "dude" than "you ox", Mr. President will in trouble to climb the airstairs (not staircase) and many more... By the way, Mr. Picek is a Defence Minister, no Minister of Transport... ;-)

  13. There are so many variables. Great food for thought. The price at TRF for that cannot be compared to anything then available because there never before was such a free buffet for the mind.
    If one had wanted the real time access to top minds like this in the thirties what would that have cost?

  14. I beg to differ. I am seven years older than you and am as free as I have ever been. The worst time was the post-war period up to the late 1960s. I left UC Berkeley just before the free speech movement exploded in 1964 but I saw it coming. The restrictions on free speech that led to it would be unthinkable today.

  15. Are you sure?

    Lets look at products from China. Look at the cost in China compare to the cost that the consumer pays. Is that difference production or wage costs? e.g. The cost of selling, ...

    I think you make be underestimating the percentage of sale price that in some way is wages.

  16. I first studied South Africa in 1953 under the best teacher I have ever known. It began with reading Alan Paton’s novel, “Cry the Beloved Country” and continued with the details of apartheid although that name had not yet arisen. A bloodbath seemed inevitable but it did not happen.

    Two remarkable men, Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk, deserve shared credit for avoiding a vast human slaughter. God knows the twentieth century had enough of them.

  17. MoptopTheLibertarianDec 7, 2013, 6:08:00 PM

    So who exactly is going to "get the money" out of politics? Politicians?

  18. Of course the cost of regulation is reflected in the prices. The customer always absorbs all costs.

  19. Let us assume the "unknowable" hypothesis is a true

    description of nature.

    Consider that standard entanglement experiment, and suppose

    the electrons have spins which cannot even in principle

    be determined (This is the unknowable hypothesis).

    For axes (x, y, z) and (up, down) <--> (1, 0)

    we have the following configurations possible

    [(0, 0, 0) (0, 0, 0)]

    [(0, 0, 1) (0, 0. 1)]

    [(0, 1, 0) (0, 1, 0)]

    [(0, 1, 1) (0, 1, 1)]

    [(1, 0, 0) (1, 0, 0)]

    [(1, 0, 1) (1, 0, 1)]

    [(1, 1, 0) (1, 1, 0)]

    [(1, 1, 1) (1, 1, 1)]

    because when measurements are made along the same

    axes, the spins will always match according to quantum


    Which configuration the electrons are in cannot in

    principle be known.

    If you look at the statistics, you will see that the

    unknown hypothesis cannot hold true. What goes wrong

    is if you look at the spins along different axes,

    you will see that the probability of matching spins

    is 0.5. But, the value predicted by quantum mechanics

    which is confirmed to be correct is 1/4.

    So, the electrons could not have had a configuration

    prior to the experiment, such a predetermination is

    in conflict with the analysis of quantum mechanics.

    A configuration which exists in nature, but which

    cannot be known by any principle means, is in conflict

    with quantum mechanics.

    The unknowable hypothesis therefore

    cannot hold in nature because it is in conflict with

    quantum mechanics which is the true fundamental

    description of nature.

  20. I don't have much time to think about this topic right now, but I'd like to make a few observations:

    1. My father's income in the 1950s was approximately like mine, relatively speaking, but I can afford things which were only purchased sparingly by my parents in those days. This includes food items.

    2. Far fewer people traveled to foreign countries in those days. They couldn't afford it.

    3. Houses were smaller.

    4. Far fewer families owned more than one car.

  21. Then I just don't understand what you mean by unknowable, and I probably won't ever get it. Unknowable is synonymous with a superposition right?

  22. Actually, the cost of regulation is not fully reflected in the price. In many cases the cost is reflected in the taxes or suppressed wages. Most arguments for govt intervention make claims that the supply and demand curves are not truly reflective of the full cost of an item. So they literally slide the curves based on some model estimating the true cost. This is environmental economics 101. The countervi

  23. Got cut off...following after conterv..
    The counter view is the manipulation of the supply and demand curves actually is the placement of inefficiencies in the market. This is price manipulation as high art. Effect is either increased taxes or suppressed wages

  24. Well, one could also view in the Kantian sense of "noumena". Over the years there has been lots and lots of discussion of the relationship between the views of Kant and those of Niels Bohr. (Bohr knew Kant's philosophy well and borrowed some terminology from it, but whether he was directly influenced by it is disputed). There are lots of papers and even books on this topic, one example is:

    According to this author Bohr's "closed systems of objects" correspond to Kant's noumena, that is, they are real but outside all possible experience (i.e. you can't make your calculations too).

    I don't think this topic is of much interest except to philosophers, but if you are already comfortable with Kant it might make you more comfortable with Bohr...

  25. Interesting topic. I just have a few random thoughts at the moment.

    Since the total wealth in an economy should be reasonably close to the average productivity times the number of people working in that economy, how can the prices today be reasonably close to those of 80 years ago(in inflation adjusted $).?

    First off, what we are buying today is different that what we were buying previously as others have mentioned (most products "contain" more information in them now than previously) and they are changing at a faster pace. Adding this information to products (in order to change/improve them) costs money and increases prices.

    Secondly, as was also mentioned, people just own more stuff now. Almost any product will have higher per capita sales now than it did in 1930. The more stuff people want the higher the prices will be.

    3.Women are in the workplace to a much higher percentage than in 1930 and a consequence of this is that the economy is spending a lot more on child care now than it used to. This has the dual effect of increasing the money available to spend(by households) and increasing their expenses. These two effects would seem to have opposite effects on one another (more women working will produce more but will require them to pay for child care which was a much smaller industry in 1930).

    4.There is a much larger % of retired people now than in 1930. These people have low (economic) productivity compared to working people, obviously but will keep spending money and keeping prices higher.

    5.Regulation and taxes have increased which increase the cost of goods above what they would've otherwise been,.

  26. The deeper they dig, all these academic departments of climate change, the further they pull Marxist revolutionary liberalism down with them, and the crazy academia in general, the type that still worships an upside down toilet and places it next to Van Goghs to indoctrinate school kids in the idea that quality is only decided by the powerful, arbitrarily. The crazier the layperson alarmist cult becomes, the more vigorously a real backlash develops. and now have banned competent skepticism. Hipster/design blogs are doubling down on dumb, too. The worldwide public IQ test that was issued taints their entire "liberal" (= statist) program, not just energy policy.

    -=NikFromNYC=-, Ph.D. in carbon chemistry (Columbia/Harvard)

  27. Thanks! I am lousy in everyday English.

  28. It shouldn't be impossible to figure out.

    Inflation calculators show inflation 1700-1800% since 1933 in the US. Some 21% of workforce was employed in agriculture in 1933, now it's 1%.

    You can find some data about crops (corn) from US Dept. of Agriculture:

    Corn acreage seems to be similar to 1933, yield is 6x higher therefore production is 6x higher as well. Price received by farms is around 5x higher (It was some 8x last year) so it's significantly less than overall inflation. There seems to be a steady price of corn for decades and then the price suddenly jumps. In 2005 the megajump seems to be corelated with the rise of corn ethanol. Just a decade ago price was only some 2.5x higher than in 1933.

    Overall farms receive 30x more money from one acre. Inflation makes it just 1.7x which is not that much. This is 35x per workforce unit. I'm not sure if there are some extra expenses to make the yield 6x greater or if machinery used to reduce the workforce takes bigger cut of the overall price than machinery used in 1933.

    When it comes to wheat it follows a similar pattern. Only difference is the price didn't dip this year as with corn.

    This shows food should be cheaper than in 1933 even if not as much as it could be. If it is the reason for it comes later in supply chain.

  29. Lubos, I think you'll find this post WUWT linked to entertaining:

  30. hi lubos,

    yes, I saw your comment about katia's article after I posted. let me say that our experience with her was fantastic. I was initially concerned (having never interacted with science journalists before, and having seen some fairly awful coverage in major media outlets) that her priorities would have little overlap with our own, being more sensationalistic rather than giving an accurate presentation of the scientific results. and of course the *last* thing we wanted was to have our names associated with some pseudo-scientific garbage aimed at publicity rather than truth. however I was pleasantly surprised! among other things, she ran her drafts/questions by us and listened carefully to our input and corrections. even when, to a non-scientist, our comments probably seemed more like an exercise in pedantry than anything else. she also did this all the way down to the final drafts, so there weren't any surprises for us at the end. all in all, she was very professional and appears to share a strong respect for scientific integrity.

    I also saw that she was also behind the josephson junction article you highlighted. frankly I'm not surprised. :)

    to answer your question, we've never met; I'm simply too young. I was andreas' student at seattle, and didn't start seriously doing things with him until 2007 or so. regarding the blog, thanks for maintaining it! I do check it every so often, as do most people I talk to in hep-th.

    best wishes to you as well!

  31. The trajectory of the insanity of cAGW seems to be following this to a 'T':

    1) The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause.
    2) The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability; or, many measurements are necessary because of the very low statistical significance of the results.
    3) Claims of great accuracy.
    4) Fantastic theories contrary to experience.
    5) Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses thought up on the spur of the moment.
    6) Ratio of supporters to critics rises up to somewhere near 50% and then falls gradually to oblivion.
    Irving Langmuir (1953 Colloquium at the Knolls Research Laboratory)

  32. Seemed like all too normal December Spring Tide type weather and tidal surges here in the UK too - December 2nd to 6th, peaking December 4th.

    I've lived long enough to see plenty of this in the past (if you go sailing and sea fishing you tend to notice what corresponds with Spring and Neap Tides)..

  33. I think I am extremely skeptical of your source for these numbers. Real (ie inflation adjusted) disposable income per capita is four times what it was in 1947. That's as far back as the series I can get from the St Louis Fed website goes. Going to:

    Real (again, inflation adjusted) GDP per capita was more than 24 times what it was in 1932 in 2012.

    I think if anyone actually wants to suggest people are not much better off than they were even a few decades ago, they are either badly misinformed, or a complete nutcase.

  34. Come on please tell us how you really feel. And not the pussyfooting dancing around the subject.

  35. LOL! Funny video!

  36. I agree (including the last sentence ;-) ). However, this is not necessarily incompatible with Lubos's data. The question, I think, was to explain the apparent contradiction between these data and what actually is (or should be) pretty obvious.

    One aspect not taken into account by the data is the change in the pattern of consumption, particularly of items such as food, clothing etc., which now have a much smaller share of disposable personal income. This enables people to buy things like electronics etc., that ones did not exist.
    I think this graph is very telling:

  37. Dear Justin, "unknowable" is a popular adjective representing the superposition, but they're not the synonymous words. A superposition is a mathematical object; "unknowable" is an inaccurate attempt to interpret the physical meaning of the superposition.

    The value of a quantity before the measurement is "unknowable" in the sense that it is physically meaningless to ask what it is - the only way to properly ask is to measure it and measurements have consequences.

  38. Dear Kristan, and she's been harassed for the very fact that people's experiences with her were fantastic, see e.g. ;-)

  39. If it is not too personal can you explain why you have found more freedom in Japan ? I have the contrary impression but i have never been to Japan.

  40. Is Xaver a name in Czech, too? The Poles gave the storm their own name, "Bodil". Whereas the Czechs just copied the German name?

  41. Of course I was referring to one particular kind of freedom: the freedom to hold and express opinions on all kinds of social and political topics - essentially what is called "freedom of expression". Even now Japan has hardly been penetrated by "political correctness", which is why you can still hear "naïve " Japanese express "shocking" opinions on race, male-female differences, homosexuality etc., etc. ,in fact all the things that have become taboos is America.

    Of course, the Japanese have their own taboos, for example, public criticism of the emperor or of Japan's past will not endear one to many Japanese and sometimes may even be quite dangerous. But when you are viewed as an "outsider" (which is what a foreigner living in Japan always remains) even this is usually simply ignored.

    On the other hand, Japan is less free in terms of the social conventions that are imposed on individuals at the risk of social ostracism (including such things as hierarchical relations at work etc), but again these have much less impact of foreigners . In any case, the Japanese society demands much more conformity in behaviour (even though this has been changing, particularly among young Japanese) than in opinions, which are practically unrestricted.

  42. Hmm...where did you get this idea from?
    Bodil is Danish.
    In Poland the cyclone is called "Ksawery":

  43. I got it from Simon Hradecky at the Aviation Herald:

  44. I see that he does not say that "Bodil" is the Polish name for the cyclone but it is reasonable to deduce this from the context. But Bodil does not sound in the least Polish while Ksawery is a fairly common name.

  45. Dear Eugene, Bodil is a name given by the Danes

    while Xaver is used e.g. in Germany and yes, Czechia is usually guaranteed to emulate the German convention in most of similar situations.

    Poles call it Ksawery:

  46. Thanks for the answer. I have understood what you mean, it is good to be a foreigner in Japan :) . Can you also talk about scientific environment in Japan, salaries etc (of course I can find some numbers in internet but that doesn't say much about standart of living). I am considering to applying a summer school in Tokyo university .

  47. That's because politicians are lying about one thing. Debt.

    They omit pensions debts.

    So the prosperity is an illusion.

    Just as me having your credit card, and spending your money, makes me look wealthy.

  48. "More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined"

    "Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

    It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to anation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

    Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people
    manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing."

    [So Lubos, most of these wage gains that you speak of have resulted in the US becoming a nation of takers, not makers. No matter how you look at it, this is not a sign of a healthy economy, nor is it

  49. Mandela was a great man, Gene, but he was mostly a figurehead for a
    movement that banded together many greats, who have not had the
    limelight of Madiba – Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Joe Slovo, Steve
    Biko, Desmond Tutu, the children of Soweto, to name but a few. Yes, he
    sacrificed many of the best years of his life; so did these others. And
    these others had the egolessness to realize that their movement needed a
    figurehead to inspire their fellow South Africans and the rest of the
    world. Unfortunately, his time in power,and the subsequent ANC years of
    rule, have been a betrayal to all that these people fought for. Because
    aside from the few Black people that benefited hugely, the majority are
    probably worse off as a result of the neoliberal agreements that
    Mandela’s team signed with the IMF and the international community. One
    just has to witness the Obamas, Colin Powells, Camerons, Boris Johnsons
    and Blairs all falling over themselves to say what a wonderful guy he
    was. He was the ‘acceptable’ face of a revolution, because ultimately
    the ruling class retained their power in South Africa.

  50. Recall that President Obama said something about how Mandela “Belongs to the Ages.” Yet, President Obama still belongs to the Bankers and Big Pharma. And no man who appointed Susan Rice to a high position could really care about the people of Africa:

    Obama, the rest of the Beltway whores, and their MSM mouthpieces will sing Mandela’s praises so as to try and fool people into thinking they’re also of great moral principle. They aren’t.

  51. LOL, you clearly know more than average Czechs and perhaps me.

    Not more than you, unless knowing more is knowing a bit about what brochures and clueless volunteer propagandists say.

    I know
    that oxidization generally encourages cancer - that's why anti-oxidants
    prevent it - but not in any detail.

    The devil is in the details (of the science). (OK, I know just a little about that.) Just because oxidation generally encourages cancer doesn't mean that ingesting anything in particular said to be anti-oxidant will prevent it or slow it down. The people I'm talking about are simpletons. This has little to do with whatever scientists may say.

  52. I think the research in anti-oxidents/cancer has become more vague lately. Generally, tissue damage leads to cancer, but a healthy immune system (and muscular/cardio-vascular system) prevent a lot of that. Too many anti-oxidents before or immediately after exercise dampens the positive effects of exercise IIRC. Just like moderately high exposure to radiation may improve immune function, proper balance, variability, and timing of oxidants and anti-oxididants may be more important than simply the amount of anti-oxidants consumed.

  53. I believe that popular science books and press reporting progress in theoretical physics don't have to make 100% scientifically precise statements . They have to be interesting and tell something like " wormholes can allow you to travel through huge regions of space very fast or visit other universes" to keep the general reader interested . Otherwise , he'll be lost in complicated details .

  54. That has nothing to do with my complaints. The distortions they committed haven't even made it more interesting.