Household appliances, not Gloria Steinem, ushered women into the workplace.
vision, expressed in the March 1949 issue
of Popular Mechanics: "Where a calculatoron the Eniac is equipped with 18,000
Posted Thursday, Jan. 4, 2001, at 3:00 AM
computers in the future may have only1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh
but some things remain distressinglyunchanged. Nearly a thousand years ago,
Wrong again, but then so was everybody.
promised by The Jetsons (and I have
countryside to provide new forests" (I
rocket pack), but the stuff we did get—
years ago, Scientific American reportedthat economic progress in Manhattan
support only a limited number of horses.
the home. The rest spent an average of 58
economies grow, continues to plague ournational discourse.
In the long run, economic growth comesnot from cramming more horses ontoyour island, or more factories into yourrust belt, or even more information ontoyour servers, but from technologicalbreakthroughs—not from more of thesame but from the new and previouslyunthinkable.
By the middle of the last century, Scientific American's false vision of thefuture had been displaced by a new
and she walked 6,303 feet along the way.
walking only 665 feet along the way.
Rochester, Ananth Seshadri at theUniversity of Wisconsin, and Mehmet
Yorukoglu at the University of Chicago.
advent of central heating, dryers, electric
of water around the house every year.
irons, frozen foods, refrigerators, washingmachines, vacuum cleaners, and running
liberation—and more specifically theentry of women into the labor force—was
them, wrings them out (either by hand orwith a mechanical wringer), then hangs
them to dry and moves on to theoppressive task of ironing, using heavyflatirons that are heated continuously onthe stove. By 1945, things had changed:About 60 percent of households hadwashing machines (though essentiallynone had dryers). How dramatically didthat change affect women's lives? In1945, government researchers undertookto find out. The researchers observed afarm wife named Mrs. Verett while she
Steven E. Landsburg is the author, mostrecently, ofMore Sex Is Safer Sex: The
Unconventional Wisdom of Economics.
century, those appliances have gottencheaper; as they've gotten cheaper,they've spread to more households. Asthey've spread to more households, morewomen have entered the marketplace.
International comparisons tell the samestory: By and large, the countries wheredurable goods are cheapest are thecountries where more women work forwages. The same was true across theUnited States in the middle years of thecentury.
I'd like to see GSY apply their methods tostudy the men's liberation that happenedearlier in the millennium, when largenumbers of men left farms to go to workin the marketplace. Was that revolutionalso driven by technological innovations?My guess is yes, but as far as I know,
nobody's done the kind of careful dataanalysis for men that GSY have done forwomen.
My prediction for this century is thattechnological innovation will continue totransform and enrich our lives in waysthat none of us can now imagine. Of allthe predictions one could have made acentury ago, that was the only one thatproved true.
SWIM TEAM PARTICIPANT’S INFORMATION BOOKLET GENERAL INFORMATION - S.W.I.M.SOLOMON ISLANDS WHAT IS SWIM? SWIM (in the Solomon Islands) is an acronym for Short Workshops in Mission. It is the mission arm of the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia. SWIM was started in the early l980’s with the aim of giving young people in our churches an opportunity to serve overseas on
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