Monday, December 28, 2015

Some things are very cheap . . .

One of the advantages of living a little longer is that you are able to observe on a personal level how things have changed.   What I have been considering recently is that over time some items or services have become very cheap and others are now  more expensive.   But this situation is in a state of flux, changing from time to time and usually without notice.

For example, long distance calling has become very cheap.   That's a good thing. I can recall when making a long distance telephone call to the 'old country' was saved for births, deaths or marriages.   At about $5 a minute--which was a lot more then, than today (for example, minimum wage was about $1.50, so the equivalent charge today would be about $30. a minute)  the cost was prohibitive.  Of course, in those days, we also shouted into the telephone during those calls;  the better to be heard across the great distance.

Reading has become most inexpensive.   This might be considered unfortunate, at least for authors, but I'll save that for another post.    Why if you check out the number of books available to be read for free on Amazon or other sites, you will never run out of reading material.   There has always been the library, but that's not really free since it is supported by our tax dollars.    Does anyone still pay $3 for a used paperback anymore?

Watching movies via a service like Netflix cost little --about $10 a month for unlimited viewing.   On the other hand, cable television is ridiculously expensive, something like $50 a month to watch thirty year old programs and infomercials.   I think it may be only the live sports that keeps people around.  I read regular reports of people 'cutting the cable cord'.

By comparison, food--which is really more necessary that telephone calls or entertainment--is quite expensive, especially for good food.   Apples for a dollar each, steaks (for the carnivores) are about $20 a kilogram.  Except meat is now often priced in 100 gram weight which, of course, appears more reasonable, that latter amount being quite miniscule.   The ancient Romans knew to keep bread cheap (along with circuses) but today $4 to $5 a loaf is typical.

Our first colour television -- 20 inch colour -- cost us $500.   Recently we purchased a 32 inch one (lighter in weight and a better picture) for $250.   Many years of inflation have intervened between the purchases.

I'm still working on discerning a pattern to these changes.   Any ideas?

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