Philip Greenspun shares his insight on economic ratios today. I find the comparison fascinating.
[…]Forty years ago it cost $500 to buy a factory-made TV and $10,000 to have a nice house built from scratch on a plot of land, a ratio of 20:1. Today the TV costs $200 and assembling the local tradespeople and lumber will probably set you back $200,000, a ratio of 1000:1 […]
He goes on to suggest how clearcutting forests in British Columbia an then shipping the lumber to China would allow low-cost Chinese laborers to produce houses that could be shipped back to the USA and sold at Wal-Mart.
The tone of Philip's post is slightly serious and slightly tongue in cheek. I'm just not sure how to take him here. No matter what it's madness. In many communities you find that priorities are so weirdly shifted to those things that shine, hum, sing or otherwise are — well materialistic. You'll see shiny new $40,000 SUVs parked in front of urban dwelling apartments or other questionable run down housing. Of course, the bank likely owns many of these vehicles or other products of leisure.
I have a TV. But for a long time I didn't. Until recently I hadn't used it for much other than watching a DVD. The other night my friend called to tell me that some movie star was going to be on Jay Leno and hinted that he might announced his candidacy for the California
Circus Gubernatorial Race. I turned on the TV and found that my satellite service had been turned off. I guess I didn't pay the bill. Funny thing is I have water, electricity, DSL, gas among other recurring things. I guess I just throw those DirecTV bills in with the rest of my junk mail.
Well. I guess I ought to breakdown and have it turned back on. Many of my television-watching friends assure me there are some good things to watch. I'm open. Just need to find the time when I'm not reading.
Then there's the whole governor thing…