The “Miracle of Manufacturing”: Better Goods, Lower Prices

At AEI Mark J. Perry offers an interesting comparison between old and new window air conditioner units. In 1956, Sears sold a unit for $299.95. In 2014, it sold a better unit for $219. Based on an average manufacturing wage, “the time cost of a Sears room air conditioner has declined from 164 hours in 1956 to only 11 hours today,” Perry writes. Perry writes that such advances “are part of the ‘miracle of manufacturing,’ which continues to deliver cheaper and better goods to American consumers year after year, which translates into a higher standard of living for all Americans, especially for lower and middle-income households.” Of course manufacturing is no miracle; it is the consequence of productive and self-interested people collaborating voluntarily to earn a profit.