Monday, January 31, 2011

The Office Test

Tyler Cowen supports his hypothesis that things haven't changed as much recently as they did in prior generations by looking at his kitchen.
Here is Paul Krugman, noting that innovations for the kitchen have slowed down. He cites this earlier, mid-90s piece of his on kitchens, which I would have cited had I known about it. His conclusion:

By any reasonable standard, the change in how America lived between 1918 and 1957 was immensely greater than the change between 1957 and the present.

As Krugman did in the mid-1990s, I now cook in a 1950s kitchen and it suits me fine.

My anecdote refutes his! Look at your office. From 1918 to 1957, it probably had slide rules, typewriter, desk, phone. But in 2011 we have computers, which are filled with magical programs that do things unimaginable in 1957. After all, in 1954 the head of IBM said "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."


Unknown said...

Yeah, really daft stuff from the pair of them. Picking an entirely arbitrary example just because it happens to support their thesis is very strange. I could equally say "look at how kids today spend their free time compared to how I did and how my parents spent theirs (I am 28). Innovation is on the increase!"
Not sure what this shows other than that innovation is hard to measure and non-linear in the way it affects our lives.

Anonymous said...

With a computer, as well as an ipod, in every kitchen, every recipe ever created is at the touch of the fingertips.

Krugman is wrong again!

Pity the people who fall for people such as this and their useless anecdotal nonsense.



Anonymous said...

Talk about not understanding the progress they'd see in a few years. Here's a today show clip from 1994: