washing machines reduced drudgery

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pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Pearl River Delta, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management, zero-sum game

Postwar America was bursting with pent-up eagerness and enthusiasm for the new, especially technology. People loved the shiny stuff—especially large appliances: washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and refrigerators. Everyone wanted the biggest and the best, and in hot new colors like avocado green. The media had cast these mechanical marvels as freedom machines, transformers of the dreary into the fabulous. Washing machines banished the drudgery of “washing day”; freezers made the dream of TV dinners come true. To cite but one remarkable example, General Electric ran an advertisement entitled “Things My Bill Has a Right to After It’s Over,” referring to the postwar world as seen through the eyes of the wife of a young soldier. The blushing bride says her Bill has a right to all the coffee he wants from her spanking new G.E.


pages: 272 words: 83,798

A Little History of Economics by Niall Kishtainy

"Robert Solow", Alvin Roth, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, central bank independence, clean water, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, first-price auction, floating exchange rates, follow your passion, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, loss aversion, market clearing, market design, means of production, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent

CHAPTER 18 Down the Plughole An American hit song of 1932 had the line: ‘Once I built a railroad; now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?’ The song tells of one of the sources of America’s wealth: the thousands of miles of railways that moved goods and people between ports, factories and cities. At the end of the 1920s food was plentiful, many people owned their own homes, and products such as washing machines that did away with domestic drudgery were within reach of ordinary Americans. But as the song said, only a few years later many workers who’d helped build the wealth were reduced to begging. By 1933, 13 million Americans were unemployed, a quarter of all the workers. In some cities half were out of work. The railways carried a new cargo: millions of people stowed away in the freight cars, criss-crossing the country looking for work.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the sewing machine, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, undersea cable, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management

The washing machine never reached the same penetration, because many apartment-dwellers relied on machines that were communal to the building or went outside the apartment building to patronize Laundromats. The early data for washing machines in the 1940s and 1950s need qualification, for some of the machines in question were equipped with hand wringers to squeeze the water out of the clothes, requiring human effort no longer required by fully automatic washing machines with their mechanical spinning wash tubs. Whereas washing machines eliminated the previous drudgery of the washboard described in chapter 8, the arrival of the clothes dryer eliminated the tedious task of hanging clothes on outside clothes lines, where the drying process could be interrupted by rain or where, in industrial cities, the clean clothes could be coated with soot and pollution. Clothes dryers took longer to reach American households than washing machines but eventually caught up.


pages: 736 words: 233,366

Roller-Coaster: Europe, 1950-2017 by Ian Kershaw

airport security, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, centre right, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, first-past-the-post, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, illegal immigration, income inequality, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, labour market flexibility, land reform, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, liberation theology, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, precariat, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine, The Chicago School, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, young professional

Expenditure on household appliances rose more quickly than any other part of the household budget. The fridge and the washing machine were increasingly commonplace in middle-class households but within two decades, as their price dropped, became accessible also to working-class families. By the early 1970s most households had a fridge, and could for the first time buy food in bulk for storage and later use. Two-thirds of families by then had a washing machine, freeing women for the most part from a significant element in household drudgery. A big status symbol in the 1950s was ownership of a television. Britain began in the lead, but when television had launched there in 1946 there had been only 1,760 subscribers. By the mid-1960s there were 13 million television sets in Britain, nearly 10 million in West Germany, 5 million in France and Italy, about 2 million in Holland and Sweden. By the end of the decade nearly every household in Western Europe had a television.


pages: 240 words: 60,660

Models. Behaving. Badly.: Why Confusing Illusion With Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life by Emanuel Derman

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Black-Scholes formula, British Empire, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cepheid variable, creative destruction, crony capitalism, diversified portfolio, Douglas Hofstadter, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, Henri Poincaré, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, law of one price, Mikhail Gorbachev, Myron Scholes, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Feynman, riskless arbitrage, savings glut, Schrödinger's Cat, Sharpe ratio, stochastic volatility, the scientific method, washing machines reduced drudgery, yield curve

But the shoe or corset isn’t the woman; it is just the most important part of the woman for this model user. Once you understand that a model isn’t the thing but rather an exaggeration of one aspect of the thing, you will be less surprised at its limitations. Let Someone Else’s Fingers Do the Walking Thinking for yourself is hard work, and models save mental labor. Like the vacuum cleaner and washing machine that promised to liberate suburban housewives of the 1950s from drudgery, models provide easy and automated ways of letting other people do the thinking for you. When I worked on my PhD thesis to test the Weinberg-Salam Model in the early 1970s, I carried out each calculation using Feynman diagrams, the cartoonlike representations invented by Richard Feynman in the late 1940s to systematize and enumerate the ways particles interact during collisions.


pages: 1,152 words: 266,246

Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris

addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, market bubble, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery

People had always had ways to avoid conception (legend has it that the eighteenth-century lover Casanova made his own condoms by cutting lemons in half) and birth rates were falling in the richest countries by 1900, but in the twentieth century American technology rose to this challenge too. In 1920 came latex condoms; in 1960 the oral contraceptive; and in rich countries the birth rate dropped below the replacement level of two per couple. As healthier children and the pill released women from lifetimes of breeding, cheap electrical heating coils for irons and toasters and little motors for washing machines and vacuum cleaners released them from household drudgery too. Pressing a button took care of tasks that previously called for hours of tedious labor. A woman’s work was still never done, but by 1960 she could jump in the car (almost every American family had one), drive to the supermarket (where two-thirds of the country’s food was sold), store her purchases in the refrigerator (98 percent of houses had them), and put the laundry on before the two or three kids got back from school and settled in front of the TV.


pages: 626 words: 167,836

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, factory automation, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, game design, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Turing test, union organizing, universal basic income, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Revolutionary technologies like automobiles, refrigerators, radios, and telephones—to name just a few—were all unavailable to European monarchs in the Renaissance, but by 1950 they were common features of Western life. In 1900, the average housewife could still only dream of living like the upper classes, who had servants to do the most tedious household tasks for them. In the following decades every home suddenly got equal access to the electric servant. Washing machines, electric irons, and a host of other electric appliances took over hours of drudgery in the home. In short, the capitalist achievement, as the great economist Joseph Schumpeter observed, did not consist of providing “more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls in return for steadily decreasing amounts of effort.”6 It is easy to oversimplify history. However, if there is one predominant factor underlying economic and social change over the past two centuries, it is surely the advancement of technology.


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Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

Michael Cox, a former chief economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, calculates that the total lifetime hours worked declined by about 25 percent over the twentieth century. Some of the most striking advances were made against domestic toil, thanks to the arrival of “electronic servants” in the form of washing machines, stoves, microwave ovens, and dishwashers. In 1900, marriage for a working-class woman who couldn’t afford servants was tantamount to a life sentence of domestic drudgery. Stanley Lebergott has estimated that the average housewife devoted forty-four hours a week to preparing meals and washing the dishes, seven hours a week to laundry, and seven hours a week to cleaning. That may be a conservative number. In the same year, employers of domestic servants in Boston, who would hardly have a reason to exaggerate the amount of work they were extracting, reported that their servants put in an average of seventy-two hours a week.


pages: 870 words: 259,362

Austerity Britain: 1945-51 by David Kynaston

Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, continuous integration, deindustrialization, deskilling, Etonian, full employment, garden city movement, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labour mobility, light touch regulation, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, occupational segregation, price mechanism, rent control, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, the market place, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional

‘Nothing on earth would ever persuade me to have my home anywhere but in England, where my ancestors have lived ever since they sacked and burned the farms of East Anglia fifteen hundred years ago.’19 About the same time, Mass-Observation put the question to the female members of its panel: ‘What are your feelings about housework?’ Predictably, there was no shortage of replies, from housewives of varying ages and varying degrees of contentment: I think housework becomes infinitely easier with the right tools. I consider every housewife should be able to have a washing machine, a proper wringer, a vacuum cleaner and a refrigerator. Without these tools, a lot of the work is a drudgery and the result is either the woman doggedly keeps on at her work becoming a kind of martyred housewife, or she just skips the lot and a fusty dusty house results. (37) I like Monday least as after a slight relaxation of work on Sunday I find it very hard to get going again on Monday. I dislike washing as I have such a heavy morning and get very tired through standing at the sink.


pages: 1,327 words: 360,897