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September 19, 2008

Some economic improvements

With so much gloomy economic news around today, it's good to find some sunshine wherever we can. Can you give us any good news about our every day economic lives? Listen

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"I can, and I think this is important to sometimes take a longer run perspective and see that things perhaps aren't as bad as they used to be. And I think one of the big changes we've seen over the recent decades is the spread of new products and technologies that make our lives better. For example, 40 years ago, of course, computers, cell phones, microwaves, digital cameras, VCRs and the internet didn't even exist. Today, over half and in some income ranges, two-thirds of households have all of these technologies. And of course, we can talk about how they've improved our lives. Likewise, about 40 years ago, only a few households had air conditioning. Only a few had dishwashers and clothes dryers. And now the rate of ownership of these items is close to 80 percent in many cases; in some segments, 100 percent. And we've seen especially gains in all of these technologies in terms of their use, not only for all households but especially for low-income households. And then, finally, people are taking more leisure time actually. The data show that. And the workplace has become much safer. So there is a silver lining in all this gloomy economic news, especially if you look over long-run trends."

Posted by Dave at September 19, 2008 08:22 AM