Pretty much all of what politics is about nowadays is rearranging the deck chairs…

Pretty much all of what politics is about nowadays is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic…

The always-interesting Scott Alexander asks probably one of the most important questions of our modern age:

Why the heck is everything getting so much more expensive?

So, to summarize: in the past fifty years, education costs have doubled, college costs have dectupled, health insurance costs have dectupled, subway costs have at least dectupled, and housing costs have increased by about fifty percent. US health care costs about four times as much as equivalent health care in other First World countries; US subways cost about eight times as much as equivalent subways in other First World countries.

I worry that people don’t appreciate how weird this is. I didn’t appreciate it for a long time. I guess I just figured that Grandpa used to talk about how back in his day movie tickets only cost a nickel; that was just the way of the world. But all of the numbers above are inflation-adjusted. These things have dectupled in cost even after you adjust for movies costing a nickel in Grandpa’s day. They have really, genuinely dectupled in cost, no economic trickery involved.

I've done a lot of looking in to this and I'm with Alexander on this. No one knows. There's lots of theories but I don't think there's any convincing arguments out there.

As Alexander touches upon, this phenomenon is the root cause for a large part of the divisions in our modern world.

Considerations On Cost Disease
I. Tyler Cowen writes about cost disease. I’d previously heard the term used to refer only to a specific theory of why costs are increasing, involving labor becoming more efficient in some ar…

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13 Comments.

  1. You don't know grades are weighted? They're not able to rise by 200% because the class will be graded not proportional to their ability, but rather such that the class average is the pre-decided average score.
    So, CATO, as usual, is being dishonest.

  2. So, I take it you didn't read the article

  3. +Dustin Wyatt With such a dishonest graph on it, I am happy to say no to that. FFS, what's wrong with you?

  4. Because he acknowledged that the graph is wrong.

  5. Or rather that it is not the thrust of the post.

  6. I'm not sure why that means something is wrong with me. That seems like a rude and weird response.

  7. +Dustin Wyatt Because it's just there to influence the TL;DR mouth-breathers. That doesn't make it less dishonest.

  8. +Dustin Wyatt You're sorry I spiked the meme, you mean.

  9. Ever heard of inflation? Education costs, like all other costs, rise constantly while the intelligence or the learning capacity of people is rather constant.

  10. +Pieter van Pelt These figures are in inflation-adjusted dollars.

  11. Which it specifically mentions multiple times in the post…