Observations of the Random sort

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Mo
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Mo »

Aresen wrote:
Jennifer wrote: 17 Feb 2021, 21:45 Everything was way more expensive back then. Remember my "historically rich" game? I still play it, almost unconsciously/automatically, anytime I read any well-done, well-detailed piece of historical fiction or non-fiction.

I've been trying to make a modern price comparison of sorts -- I've been killing time with dollar-store jigsaw puzzles, and "Dollar stores are the modern equivalent of the old five-and-ten-cent stores America had in the early-to-mid 20th century" is one of those oddball facts I've picked up somewhere along the way. One night I was reading a modern reprint of a WW2-era British book of ways to pass the time during the war, which unsurprisingly recommended jigsaw puzzles (the book included instructions on how to make your own).

This inspired me to go online for a bit of link-diving and, long story short: I eventually learned that the old F.W. Woolworth chain got its start as a five and dime. The chain expanded to England, where the original prices for everything were either threepence or sixpence. During WW2, Woolworth stores in Britain sold jigsaw puzzles with patriotic themes for sixpence (though due to wartime shortages, the quality of the puzzles went way down compared to their prewar offerings -- flimsier materials, more cheaply printed images, etc.).

It amused me to think that one of the things I'm doing to "deal with" covid is exactly identical to a thing many wartime Britons did to "deal with" the war: assembling jigsaw puzzles bought from an "everything's the same low price" chain of stores, and the jigsaw puzzles in question are of objectively lower quality than the full-price puzzles you could buy at regular-price stores.

So then I spent a little more time trying to figure out: how does "sixpence for a jigsaw puzzle in World War Two Britain" compare to "one dollar for a jigsaw puzzle in America today?" Even knowing they had 240 pence to a pound back then, with the minimal amount of research I was actually willing to commit to it I couldn't find firm statistics like, what if anything was the British minimum wage then; what was an average wage vs. a "good wage," what were the standard prices of other things (like, how does the cost of a puzzle compare to the cost of a month's rent) .... nada. Still, I suspect sixpence then was a lot more than a dollar today, where actual buying power is concerned. Especially if you're only buying the absolute-cheapest items in the "luxury/non-necessity" category, like a jigsaw puzzle.
According to the UK inflation calculator, £1 in 1944 was the equivalent of £44.14 in 2020. Six pence is a fortieth of a pound, so £1 would be roughly equivalent.

FWIW, the UK did not have a minimum wage until sometime in the 1970s or 1980s.

According to this page, the nominal weekly wage in the UK in 1945 was £3.81 (or £3 16s 4d, if you prefer).
The UK dollar store is called Pound Town and I could never walk past it without a chuckle.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex
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Pham Nuwen
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Pham Nuwen »

Mo wrote: 18 Feb 2021, 01:58
Aresen wrote:
Jennifer wrote: 17 Feb 2021, 21:45 Everything was way more expensive back then. Remember my "historically rich" game? I still play it, almost unconsciously/automatically, anytime I read any well-done, well-detailed piece of historical fiction or non-fiction.

I've been trying to make a modern price comparison of sorts -- I've been killing time with dollar-store jigsaw puzzles, and "Dollar stores are the modern equivalent of the old five-and-ten-cent stores America had in the early-to-mid 20th century" is one of those oddball facts I've picked up somewhere along the way. One night I was reading a modern reprint of a WW2-era British book of ways to pass the time during the war, which unsurprisingly recommended jigsaw puzzles (the book included instructions on how to make your own).

This inspired me to go online for a bit of link-diving and, long story short: I eventually learned that the old F.W. Woolworth chain got its start as a five and dime. The chain expanded to England, where the original prices for everything were either threepence or sixpence. During WW2, Woolworth stores in Britain sold jigsaw puzzles with patriotic themes for sixpence (though due to wartime shortages, the quality of the puzzles went way down compared to their prewar offerings -- flimsier materials, more cheaply printed images, etc.).

It amused me to think that one of the things I'm doing to "deal with" covid is exactly identical to a thing many wartime Britons did to "deal with" the war: assembling jigsaw puzzles bought from an "everything's the same low price" chain of stores, and the jigsaw puzzles in question are of objectively lower quality than the full-price puzzles you could buy at regular-price stores.

So then I spent a little more time trying to figure out: how does "sixpence for a jigsaw puzzle in World War Two Britain" compare to "one dollar for a jigsaw puzzle in America today?" Even knowing they had 240 pence to a pound back then, with the minimal amount of research I was actually willing to commit to it I couldn't find firm statistics like, what if anything was the British minimum wage then; what was an average wage vs. a "good wage," what were the standard prices of other things (like, how does the cost of a puzzle compare to the cost of a month's rent) .... nada. Still, I suspect sixpence then was a lot more than a dollar today, where actual buying power is concerned. Especially if you're only buying the absolute-cheapest items in the "luxury/non-necessity" category, like a jigsaw puzzle.
According to the UK inflation calculator, £1 in 1944 was the equivalent of £44.14 in 2020. Six pence is a fortieth of a pound, so £1 would be roughly equivalent.

FWIW, the UK did not have a minimum wage until sometime in the 1970s or 1980s.

According to this page, the nominal weekly wage in the UK in 1945 was £3.81 (or £3 16s 4d, if you prefer).
The UK dollar store is called Pound Town and I could never walk past it without a chuckle.
That's because you are a normal human being.
Goddamn libertarian message board. Hugh Akston

leave me to my mescaline smoothie in peace, please. dhex
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JD
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by JD »

The next time somebody whines at you about how much more enlightened Europeans are
France, cradle of the Concorde, the face transplant, and the first isolation of HIV, is more wary of vaccines and the economic value of science than more than 140 other countries, according to a global survey of public attitudes toward science and health released this week.
...
When asked whether vaccines are safe, one-third of the 1000 French respondents to the survey disagreed—far more than in other nations. (In the United States, 11% disagreed.) The mistrust didn’t vary much across age, gender, or education...
The survey also reveals French pessimism about the economic value of science. Some 55% say they see science and technology as a threat to local jobs in the next 5 years. Although France is the only country scoring above 50% on this question...
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/06 ... rvey-finds
I sort of feel like a sucker about aspiring to be intellectually rigorous when I could just go on twitter and say capitalism causes space herpes and no one will challenge me on it. - Hugh Akston
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lshap
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by lshap »

JD wrote: 18 Feb 2021, 15:46 The next time somebody whines at you about how much more enlightened Europeans are
France, cradle of the Concorde, the face transplant, and the first isolation of HIV, is more wary of vaccines and the economic value of science than more than 140 other countries, according to a global survey of public attitudes toward science and health released this week.
...
When asked whether vaccines are safe, one-third of the 1000 French respondents to the survey disagreed—far more than in other nations. (In the United States, 11% disagreed.) The mistrust didn’t vary much across age, gender, or education...
The survey also reveals French pessimism about the economic value of science. Some 55% say they see science and technology as a threat to local jobs in the next 5 years. Although France is the only country scoring above 50% on this question...
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/06 ... rvey-finds
But at least they can eat lunch at their desks now!
-linguist
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Eric the .5b »

JD wrote: 18 Feb 2021, 15:46 The next time somebody whines at you about how much more enlightened Europeans are
France, cradle of the Concorde, the face transplant, and the first isolation of HIV, is more wary of vaccines and the economic value of science than more than 140 other countries, according to a global survey of public attitudes toward science and health released this week.
...
When asked whether vaccines are safe, one-third of the 1000 French respondents to the survey disagreed—far more than in other nations. (In the United States, 11% disagreed.) The mistrust didn’t vary much across age, gender, or education...
The survey also reveals French pessimism about the economic value of science. Some 55% say they see science and technology as a threat to local jobs in the next 5 years. Although France is the only country scoring above 50% on this question...
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/06 ... rvey-finds
It's because of American right-wing influence.

Really, that's what people straight-facedly tell me. Nothing bad about Europe comes from Europe, it's all from America (or from immigrants, if actual Europeans are talking).
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
Cet animal est très méchant / Quand on l'attaque il se défend.
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thoreau
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

In the beginning, the Europeans had simple lives of harmony and cooperation under Social Democrat and Labour parties. There was peace and abundance. Then the right-wing Americans came from across the sea and taught them capitalism. This upset their traditional ways and there was disharmony. Many people starved and died. Many Europeans wish to return to the simpler ways of their ancestors, who knew only peace and plenty because they had social democracy.
"...if that monkey gets any smarter it's going to start shorting TSLA."
--JD
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Jennifer
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Jennifer »

The Europeans who immigrated to America all did so because there was so much peace and prosperity at home, they were bored and worried modern life was making them "soft." At least one of my great-grancestors left Ireland because the infamous Potato Surplus made her start getting fat, so she went to America because she was afraid of losing her thin privilege.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b
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thoreau
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by thoreau »

And when they came to the shores of America they met another people who were living in peace and plenty, in perfect harmony with nature. But a serpent whispered in their ears and said "Behold, your skin is different from theirs! Surely this is a mark of God's favor! Why should you be content with an equal share when it is your privilege to have more?" And the European gazed upon his skin and saw that it was true, and then he invented capitalism so that he could oppress the Indigenous peoples and the Africans. And he invented patriarchy and began to oppress women, who had previously been the keepers of a peaceful matriarchal order that provided for all.

And the White Man looked upon it and saw that it was good for him. So he oppressed more. And then the serpent said "Why should you be content to limit your capitalism only to these lands? Should you not go back to Europe and teach it to them?" And the white man saw that it was good for him, so he returned to Europe. And the Europeans were suspicious, for they had long lived in harmony. And this capitalist patriarchy seemed strange to their ways. So the White Man found a woman, and her name was Margaret Thatcher, and he said to her "Join with me, and let us spread capitalism to Europe, so we may oppress them." And Margaret looked upon capitalism and saw that it was good for her, and so evil came to Europe.
"...if that monkey gets any smarter it's going to start shorting TSLA."
--JD
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Warren
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Re: Observations of the Random sort

Post by Warren »

thoreau wrote: 18 Feb 2021, 17:14 And when they came to the shores of America they met another people who were living in peace and plenty, in perfect harmony with nature. But a serpent whispered in their ears and said "Behold, your skin is different from theirs! Surely this is a mark of God's favor! Why should you be content with an equal share when it is your privilege to have more?" And the European gazed upon his skin and saw that it was true, and then he invented capitalism so that he could oppress the Indigenous peoples and the Africans. And he invented patriarchy and began to oppress women, who had previously been the keepers of a peaceful matriarchal order that provided for all.

And the White Man looked upon it and saw that it was good for him. So he oppressed more. And then the serpent said "Why should you be content to limit your capitalism only to these lands? Should you not go back to Europe and teach it to them?" And the white man saw that it was good for him, so he returned to Europe. And the Europeans were suspicious, for they had long lived in harmony. And this capitalist patriarchy seemed strange to their ways. So the White Man found a woman, and her name was Margaret Thatcher, and he said to her "Join with me, and let us spread capitalism to Europe, so we may oppress them." And Margaret looked upon capitalism and saw that it was good for her, and so evil came to Europe.
Who did you plagiarize that from?
The opinions which are still persecuted strike the majority as so monstrous and immoral that the general principle of toleration cannot be held to apply to them. But this is exactly the same view as that which made possible the tortures of the Inquisition. - Bertrand Russell
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