This article was originally published at Gale Winds on 12/7/2023.

Almost everything was more expensive in the past. When microwaves were introduced to the household market in 1955, they cost $1,295. Back then, unskilled workers earned 97 cents an hour, so buying a microwave took them 1,335 hours. Today, you can pick one up at Walmart for $55. Unskilled workers now earn close to $16.50 per hour, putting the time price of a microwave at 3.33 hours.

The time price of a microwave has dropped 99.8 percent. You can get 400 microwaves today for the time price of one in 1955. Microwave abundance has been increasing at a 9.21 percent compound annual rate. Without all this innovation, a microwave would cost $22,027 today (1,335 x $16.50).

Innovation has given us 1,331 hours to do something else with our lives, like creating new products or just enjoying reading blog posts.