Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Forget Comey: Just Look at the Great Enrichment!

Christopher Chantrill

I don’t know what you think about the Comey firing. It’s amazing to me how much people seem to have invested in it. Does it show that Trump is totally undisciplined and flopping around out of control? Or does it show that he’s just unafraid to make decisions? I don’t know.

But I have been hanging out with a young skull full of mush and I thought that I would like to show him the facts on what Deirdre McCloskey calls in her Bourgeois Era books: “The Great Enrichment.”

Back in 1800, she writes, per-capita income was $3 per day in today’s dollars. But now, 200 years later, it is over $100 per day in the developed countries. There has never been anything like it, ever. But wait! I thought. I have all that information on usgovernmentspending.com.

I have real GDP and I have population data. I could call up that data and show my friend what’s what. Well, almost. I have GDP in 2009 prices going back to 1792. And I have U.S. population for every year since ordered the first Census in 1790. But I needed to add a tweak so that I could display numbers as 2009 dollars per capita per day. Here is what I came up with:


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