One basic fact about money is always understood by the plutocrats but never explained to the peasants. We hear inflation numbers or exchange rate numbers, and the influencers of “left” and “right” base their appeals on these fake numbers. Even the bitcoiners, who claim to be entirely outside government and banking, always treat official “inflation” and “unemployment” as facts.
The real exchange rate of labor for value is much harder to pin down and quantify. When I hear references to money in old radio programs, some quantities seem to remain constant while others are hugely different from the present. If inflation was a linear multiplication, all quantities would be different.
A 1927 book on advertising was trying to show that everyone had enough money to buy ordinary products.
A survey counted up the occupations of people who purchased at least 50 shares of a solid utility company.
I’ve highlighted both ends, the housekeepers and factory workers at one end and the accountants and bankers at the other end. The survey isn’t adjusted for per capita, but the contrast is still dramatic.
Housekeepers were buying stocks. This means housekeepers HAD ENOUGH DISPOSABLE INCOME TO BUY STOCKS.
The income distribution was much closer to LINEAR in 1927, and thanks to FDR it flattened even more in the ’30s. The distribution flattened still more through the ’50s, and didn’t stop until Nixon surrendered to China. Now we’re back to the exp^exp pattern of 1890, before unions and before Henry Ford. But we’re actually worse off than 1890 because we don’t have jobs for housekeepers and factory workers. The “hedonic adjustments” tell us that things are better because we have iPhones that spy on our movements (in both senses) and instruct us to obey the holy will of Zuck and Schwab. Utterly meaningless when you don’t have a chance to work and serve.