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.

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