Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Economics Of The Jetsons

From blogger Matt Yglesias:
Earlier today, Annie Lowrey drew our attention to the fact that George Jetson enjoyed a nine-hour workweek—thee hours a day, three days a week. Mike Konczal rightly connected this to JM Keynes’ essay on “The Economic Possibilities For Our Grandchildren” (PDF) highlighting the consequences of a super-abundance of material prosperity.
Here's the economic reality:
Essentially imagine a world in which productivity grows by an average of 2.5 percent per year for the next fifty years and Mr and Mrs Jetson have chosen to take the cumulative 418 percent increase in income by reducing hours worked to one quarter of present-day standards rather than vastly increased consumption.
Here's the most fascinating conclusion:
You can imagine two different equilibria here. One is that maybe with so many people able to comfortable support themselves on nine-hour workweeks, that entertainment is done entirely on an amateur basis. Maybe Jet Screamer earns $0 from his music, and instead works three days a week at a nursing home to earn a living. He performs music because it’s fun and because he enjoys the groupies.
This would work great for someone (like me) with more hobbies than they know what to do with.

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