When South Korea’s LG introduced their OLED technology they set a new standard for display quality. In 2016 their 65 inch TV was $5,999. This Christmas one can be bought at Walmart or Amazon for $1,797. The new unit also comes with built-in access to Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+.
Since we buy things with money but pay for them with time, let’s use time prices. To calculate the time price we divide the nominal price by the nominal wage rate. That will give us the number of hours of work required to earn enough money to buy the display.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, blue-collar hourly wage rate increased by 21.5 percent from $21.72 per hour in 2016 to $26.40 in 2021. Thus, the time price of the 65 inch display for a blue-collar worker declined 75.4 percent from 276.2 hours in 2016 to 68.07 hours in 2021. As such, blue-collar workers could buy four displays in 2021 for the same length of time of work it took to buy just one in 2016.
Enjoying a beautiful display has become 305.8 percent more abundant, growing at a compound annual rate of around 32.3 percent a year. If this trend continues, the 65 inch display in 2026 will cost around 16.77 hours of work.
Excerpt from our forthcoming book, Superabundance.