Teen’s purchasing power from working for the summer in 1952 and 2011

What could a teenager working minimum wage 60 years ago buy with his summer earnings compared to now?

Mark Perry has a calculation at his blog Carpe Diem: Young Americans: Luckiest Generation in History:

Here is the short version:

1952 after working for the summer, a teen could buy:

  • Typewriter
  • Phonograph
  • 17” TV

2011, after working the summer, a teen could buy the functionally equivalent items as 1952:

  • Laptop & printer (if you can call that comparable to a typewriter)
  • Ipod,
  • 32” HDTV, blue-ray player, home theater system (just a tad bit more than a 17” TV, but still comparable functionality, sort of)

Plus in 2011 our hypothetical teen still would have enough money left over at the end of the summer to buy some bonus stuff on top of matching types of things from 1952:

  • Iphone
  • Ipad
  • Kindle
  • 14mp camera

Here is the long version of his calculation:

Working minimum wage, 40 hours, 12 weeks in 1952 could allow a teen to buy:

Royal Deluxe Portable Typewriter

$120

Portable Phonograph

$65

Silvertone 17-inch TV

$190

Total

$375

Same parameters in 2011, a teen could buy:

Dell Inspiron Laptop

$449

Apple iPod Touch

$210

Appll iPhone 4G

$200

Garmin GPS

$100

Canon 14.1 Megapixel Digital Camera

$120

HP Officejet Wireless Printer

$100

Westinghouse 32 inch LCD HDTV

$330

Sharp 3D Wi-Fi Ready Blu-Ray Player

$200

Samsung 5.1-Channel Blu-ray Home Theater System

$260

Sonicare Rechargable Power Toothbrush

$110

Sony PlayStation 3

$400

Sony Clock Radio with Apple iPhone and iPod Dock

$40

TiVo Premiere HD DVR – 45 hours

$149

XM OnyX Sirius XM Satellite Radio Tuner

$47

De’Longhi EC702 Espresso Machine

$150

Kindle

$114

Apple iPad

$500

Total

$3,479

Read the full article. You will enjoy it.

I’ve discussed this concept earlier at:  I can’t think of a better time to be alive. Or, is the middle class better off today than in 1975?  That conversation was based on a post at Cafe Hayek. This one is from Carpe Diem.

I will repeat my question: even with our current economic , isn’t this the greatest time to be alive?

Even with the very difficult economy, the future is brighter than ever.

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