Sunday, August 02, 2009

Good News for a Change

If you watch the news, read the news, or listen to the news, you probably hear a lot of bad news. In fact I've heard a lot of complaints (and would love to see some data on it) that this trend has been going strong for the last couple of decades. So here is some good news to balance it out:

1) The average years in retirement has gone from 0 in 1950 to 13.5 in 2005.

2) Time spent with their kids has been increasing since the mid-90's. This may be partially responsible for increasing IQ about 3 points per decade for the past century.

3) Americans spent over 20% of their disposable income on food in the 1930s and 1940s. Now we spend just 9.6%.

4) Large scale war may be over.

5) The US economy has never been so competitive. Meaning large companies have never had so little power.


  1. What trend would you like to see data on? The trend of bad news?

    Nevertheless, good post. Your posts about how things are getting better / not as bad as we are told are my favorites.

  2. Yeah I've heard that the news reports more percentage negative news than they used to. Althought I believe it, I'd like to see some imperical evidence of that.

  3. Careful on #4, that's exactly what they thought before WWI.

    And #3 comes with a very heavy price.

    Also, it looks like #5 indicates that the market was actually more competitive under Clinton than Bush, even after those tax breaks for the rich. Interesting.

    I like raining on parades. So there.

  4. By heavy price do you mean low price? Are you talking about GMFs or global warming? Both are costs that at least currently are greatly overshadowed by the benefits.

    And I think #5 is more a result of increased technology than presidential policies.

    There may be rain, but the parade is still worth watching.

  5. Nah, I meant the more broad environmental and human health impacts of low cost agribusiness. That is, the heavy use of petrochemical based pesti-, herbi-, and fungi-cides, mid-term damage from monocultures, and the effects on culture and society of cheap, easily available, low-quality foods. Cheap isn't always best, especially when it comes to food.

    On the HHI index, it appears to be on its way back up, an inverse parabola. The market was actually more competitive 10 years ago than it is now. On another note though, it'll be interesting to see it affected by recent legislative action and new regulation.

    And yes, I, like most people, tend to place too much emphasis on presidential policy. Thanks for correcting me.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.