Friday, February 05, 2010

From Poverty to Prosperity

I'm currently reading From Poverty to Prosperity, authored by Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz. Here are some interesting highlights from the second chapter:
  • Around 1900, the average U.S. male between the ages of 65 and 69 had 6.2 chronic [medical] conditions. By the mid-1990s, this had fallen to 1.9 chronic conditions.
  • One hundred years ago it took 1,700 hours of work to purchase the annual food supply for a family. That's over ten months working a standard work week. Today, it requires just 260 hours -- less than a month and a half.
  • New Zealand first reached a per capita income level of $2,000 in 1821. It required an additional 65 years to double that amount to $4,000. South Korea reached the $2,000 level in 1969. It reached the $4,000 level only eight years later.
  • In 1900, the average household spent 58 hours a week on meal preparation, laundry, and cleaning. In 1975, this figure was 18 hours.
I'll have some subsequent posts with interesting charts from the book.

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