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A Restaurant Robot Might Mix Your Next Cocktail

Axios | Cost of Services

A Restaurant Robot Might Mix Your Next Cocktail

“Adam the robotic bartender is an example of a new breed of restaurant robots that are moving from novelty items to hospitality mainstays…

A dozen Adam robots have been deployed nationwide so far, in venues such as the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, the Cloutea boba shop at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and the Botbar Coffee chain.”

From Axios.

Blog Post | Cost of Material Goods

The Good Old Days Were Really Expensive

Most things are more abundant and affordable today.

If you had a dime in 1900, you could buy a 1-ounce Hershey chocolate bar and a 6.5-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola. It sounds like those were happy days indeed. That is until you look at wages, which were around 14 cents an hour for blue-collar workers.

At Walmart today, a 1.55-ounce Hershey bar costs $1.17 and a 1.25-liter bottle (42.27 ounces) of Coke is $1.52. Blue-collar workers earn closer to $36.15 an hour in compensation.

We buy things with money but pay for them with our time. Money prices are expressed in dollars and cents, while time prices are expressed in hours and minutes. A time price is simply the money price divided by hourly income.

In 1900, it took more than 21.4 minutes to earn an ounce of chocolate and 3.3 minutes for an ounce of Coca-Cola. By 2023, the chocolate time price had fallen to 1.25 minutes, and sodas were down to 0.06 minutes (3.58 seconds).

Chocolate cost fell 94.2 percent while cola cost fell 98.2 percent. For the time required to earn 1 ounce of chocolate in 1900, you get 17.1 ounces today, and for the time required to earn 1 ounce of Coca-Cola in 1900, you get 55.2 ounces today. Chocolate is 1,611 percent more abundant while cola is 5,425 percent more abundant.

Things can get more expensive and more affordable at the same time. This is why you must always compare prices to wages to see the true price, which is how much time things cost you.

This article was published at Gale Winds on 3/19/2024.

Blog Post | Energy Prices

Where Is Gasoline the Most Affordable?

Remember that it’s the time price, not the money price, that counts.

Summary: The affordability of gasoline varies significantly worldwide due to varying taxes and subsidies. Analyzing the GDP per hour worked against the money price per gallon shows that the United States emerges as the most affordable country for purchasing gasoline, even compared to nations where gasoline prices are heavily subsidized by the government.


According to GlobalPetrolPrices.com, the average price of gasoline around the world is USD5.03 per gallon. However, there is substantial difference in these prices among countries due to the various taxes and subsidies for gasoline. All countries have access to the same petroleum prices of international markets, but countries do not all impose the same taxes. As a result, the retail price of gasoline varies significantly.

Graph displays the gasoline price per gallon in US dollars in various countries

The money price of 16 selected countries ranges from $2.26 in Russia to $8.55 in Denmark. But what about the time price? To calculate the time price, we first calculated the GDP per hour worked in each country. The data to calculate this ratio come from the World Bank and the Conference Board.

Graph displays the GDP per hour worked in various countries

We then divided GDP per hour worked by the money price per gallon. This gave us the gallons of gasoline that one hour of work would buy in each country:

Graph displays the gallons of gasoline per GDP per hour worked in various countries

We also divided the nominal price per gallon by GDP per hour worked to get the minutes required per gallon:

This chart illustrates how much more expensive relative to the US the other 15 countries are in terms of time price:

Chart displays the cost in time price of gasoline in 15 countries

Of the 16 countries analyzed, the US is by far the most affordable place to buy gasoline. There are other countries where gasoline is more affordable, but the gasoline price in those countries is heavily subsidized by government.

Tip of the Hat: Jeremy Horpendahl

This article was published at Gale Winds on 4/1/2024.

Blog Post | Air Transport

Flying Abundance (And Safety) Has Increased Dramatically

Get 10.8 flights from New York to London today for the time price of one in 1970 and be 80.4 times safer.

Summary: Since the Wright brothers’ pioneering flight in 1903, the aviation industry has made remarkable strides in safety, affordability, and accessibility. Comparing flight prices from 1970 to today reveals a staggering 90.8 percent decrease in the time price of flying, with transcontinental flights now affordable for the average person. Additionally, advancements in aviation technology have made flying dramatically safer today than it was in 1970, and are likely to improve flying safety in the future.


The Wright brothers launched the era of aviation on December 17, 1903, with a 12-second flight. Since then, aeronautical engineers and market innovators have made the experience safer, faster, and much more affordable.

For example, in 1970 the price for a roundtrip ticket from New York to London was $550. Blue-collar workers at the time were earning around $3.93 an hour in compensation (wages and benefits). This suggests a time price of around 140 hours.

Today, the ticket price has dropped to around $467. Blue-collar workers are now earning closer to $36.15 an hour, putting the time price at 12.9 hours. The time price has fallen by 90.8 percent: for the time required to earn the money to buy one flight in 1970, you can get 10.8 flights today.

Flying abundance has increased by 980 percent, compounding at an annual rate of 4.5 percent over the last 54 years. During this same period the global population increased by 4.3 billion (117 percent), from 3.7 billion to more than 8 billion. Every 1 percentage point increase in population corresponded to an 8.4 percentage point increase in flying abundance.

Now transcontinental flights are affordable for almost everyone. Free-market entrepreneurial capitalism isn’t about making more luxuries for the wealthy, it’s about making luxuries affordable for the average person.

While it is true that the 1970s flights may have had roomier cabins and better dining, flying today is dramatically safer. The Aviation Safety Network tracks airline accident data. Revenue passenger kilometer (RPK) is a standard metric used in aviation. Using this data, Javier Mediavilla plotted the ratio of fatalities per trillion RPK from 1970 to 2019 using five-year averages. The ratio decreased by 98.76 percent, from 3,218 to 40, during this 49-year range. Flying is more than 80.4 times safer today than in 1970, and safety has been improving at a compound rate of around 9.37 percent a year.

Considering both the time price and safety, flying has become 868 times more abundant since 1970 (10.8 x 80.4 = 868). If there had been no innovation in flying since 1970,  New York to London airfare would be around $5,059 today. Only the rich could afford transatlantic flights in 1970.

The 3,442-mile flight takes around seven hours. The supersonic Concorde could fly it in less than three. While there are no commercial supersonic flights available today, Boom Supersonic, a private company based in Colorado, aims to bring them back to US airlines by 2029. Perhaps spending half as much time on flights will allow people to use their most valuable resource for other value-creating activities.

This article was published at Gale Winds on 3/26/2024.

World Bank | Water Use

The GCC’s Journey Towards Water Security

“Thanks to innovation driven by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, notably advancements in membrane technologies and energy efficiency, the price of desalinated water has plummeted from US$5.00 per cubic meter in the 1980s to as low as US$0.40-0.50 in recent projects. This is making desalination increasingly affordable for countries worldwide.

Beyond desalination, the GCC countries are implementing diversified water management strategies to manage water demand. One of the most important areas is the reduction of ‘non-revenue water’ (NRW) — physical and commercial losses of water.”

From World Bank.