Just a little story about technological advance and living standards

One of the advantages of ageing into maturity is that one can recall what it was like. Until one has aged through into senescence of course. About which. At about the arrival of the majority of one of us mobile phones were really a pretty new thing. Airtime was £1 a minute, about what the hourly wage was at the low end. The capital cost of one of the new phones - which had to be bolted into a vehicle to be useful - was about that of a reasonable second hand car.

A journalist wanted to call the UK head of IBM. Did so, called that mobile car number, and was told !”I’m sorry, he’s on the other line”. This was sufficient evidence of truly conspicuous consumption that it was written up in the computer press.

This morning a quick email exchange ended by a “Well, I’m just about to get on a plane”. Followed minutes later by the revelation that said plane, from NZ to the UK, had WiFi and thus email free to passengers.

Yes, obviously, the value of all of this depending upon what people have to say to each other.

And yet there are those who insist that living standards haven’t budged in these past few decades. That real wages just haven’t risen. That’s not an assertion that’s really viable, is it?