It is well established that Apple is a world leader in their technology production, but Samsung is not far behind. Hot or not?
During the 1970s, Virginia Slims ads first told us, ”You’ve come a long way baby” and a L’Oréal woman said, “I use the most expensive hair color in the world. Preference, by L’Oréal. It’s not that I care about money. It’s that I care about my hair…Because I’m worth it.”
However, in 1963, typical features in Redbook and Ladies Home Journal headlined housekeeping, cooking and weight control.
- Asked about “good housekeeping, one columnist replied, “I would say that any home needs to be straightened up every day, dusted, ash trays emptied, beds neatly made, clutter cleared away.”
- For your floors: “To apply a paste polishing wax, spread a small amount on the waxing brushes with a butter knife.”
- In an infant’s room, the young mother was told to “wet-mop the floor at least once a week. Dry-mop it daily and be vigilant about wiping up spills and splashes after you feed or bathe the baby.”
- One article suggested a “quartet of coffeecakes” women could prepare and freeze for unexpected guests.
- Women could prepare a “molded three-fruit salad” that included mayonnaise, cream cheese canned pineapple and heavy cream.
- Although many ads were for prepared food in a box or can, the recipes detailed how to combine them. “…Our Beef Cottage Pie, for example, begins in a box—or rather boxes, plural—then materializes as hearty, fork-tender chunks of beef in a magic gravy (dry soups are the secret).”
- “dine well on 300 calories”
- “10-Day diet to help you recover from the holidays.”
Also though, a 1963 Betty Friedan article for Ladies Home Journal was titled, “Have American Housewives Traded Brains for Brooms?”
So, although the women’s history illustrated by magazine content conveys more than any chart, the following, from the Census Bureau, provides a legal framework for 1940-1997:Read More
What to include in the GDP?
When Nobel Laureate Simon Kuznets developed the concept of the GDP during the 1930s, he had to decide which goods and services would count. He knew the GDP had to measure the health of the country. But how? His answer was adding together the prices of all goods and services that were legally produced during one year. Washing the dishes at home would not be counted. But, if you paid someone for the same task, it would.
Now though, I suspect that the question of what to count has become even tougher to answer.
During July, government statisticians began to include ”intellectual property products” in the fixed investment category. Crucially, that meant research and development would be recognized. In addition, music, entertainment and TV show production costs are also added in to the GDP.
But what about all the free services we use online? Think Twitter. 300 billion tweets and I do not think that anyone paid a penny. We used to buy a set of encyclopedias. Now we have Wikipedia. Maps–no need to buy them. We have Google. And…YouTube?
You see where this is taking us. If the GDP is a yardstick of the goods and services produced in a country during a year, should it include the items for which no dollars are paid? And if yes, then how?
Looking at the IoE–the Internet of Everything–economist Michael Mandel gives us one possible answer. He says that if we add data services, then the GDP will rise by an extra $300 billion or so.
Sources and resources: H/T to James Surowiecki for his New Yorker column, “Gross Domestic Freebie.” Also, I recommend this excellent 5 minute video that explains the GDP from Slate and Planet Money’s Adam Davidson. For more on how to measure the uncounted internet economy, these papers here and here, take a closer look.
Is society better off when people stop smoking? Return to work sooner after a layoff? Pay their taxes on time?
Using “nudge theory,” the UK’s Nudge Unit says it can help policymakers help us to make better decisions.
A part of government, the Nudge Unit (aka the Behavioural Insights Team) is staffed by people who understand behavioral economics and psychology. Their mission is to improve public policy by “encouraging and supporting people to make better choices for themselves.”
The group’s advisor, U. of Chicago Professor Richard Thaler, explained an example of nudge policy.
In the UK, most people automatically pay their taxes through their paychecks at work. Those, though, who have outside income do the payment themselves. As a result, some delay, some forget, some avoid. To get those individuals to pay up, the office in charge of delinquencies tried out a randomized control trial whereby different letters were sent to different people. One approach made the letter more personal. Just saying that most other town residents paid the tax and that the proceeds were used locally increased collection rates.
Using a more jolting nudge, a letter to people who did not pay their road tax became simpler. Instead of mentioning a fine and a tow, the new letter simply said, “Pay your tax or lose your car.” It worked.
As you will see in this BBC HARDtalk interview, the Nudge Unit is controversial. Responding to a tough series of questions, Dr. Thaler defends his approach.
In the US, with Affordable Health Care looming and Dodd Frank evolving, should we have a Nudge Unit that helps with incentives? I have read that the Obama Administration has begun to create a “Nudge Squad.”
Sources and resources: First hand, at the Nudge Unit website, you can read about their mission, while this Guardian article and video are more critical. Please note that I have read the nudge unit might become a part of a private enterprise in which the British government participates. Finally, Nudge by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler is enlightening.