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Another XKCD infographic
November 21, 2011 8:46 AM   Subscribe

What Randall Munroe did for Radiation, he does again for Money.
posted by Premeditated Symmetry Breaking (150 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or a readable one.
posted by Plutor at 8:47 AM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Could you post a smaller thumbnail? I can almost read that one.
posted by odinsdream at 8:49 AM on November 21, 2011


Whoops. Thanks Plutor.
posted by Premeditated Symmetry Breaking at 8:49 AM on November 21, 2011


[fixed the link to a readable one]
posted by mathowie at 8:50 AM on November 21, 2011


I just got through scanning that. I wonder if he (or someone else) will offer a printed version.
posted by DU at 8:50 AM on November 21, 2011


This is fantastic, but really needs to be a large wall print to be appreciated.

It would be a fantastic piece for a classroom, really.
posted by odinsdream at 8:51 AM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know, even though I've been a regular reader of XKCD since forever, I'm usually down on Munroe for one reason or another, even though that has to do more with what is not the general XKCD-ness -- tweeness, unrestrained idol worship, obnoxious fans -- than the individual comics themselves.

...and then once in a while he makes one of these fuckers and all I can think is that the dude's work is a benefit to society, plain and simple.
posted by griphus at 8:55 AM on November 21, 2011 [35 favorites]


...what is not the now general...
posted by griphus at 8:56 AM on November 21, 2011


This isn't a quick read. I am going to have to devote some time to read all the fine print.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 8:59 AM on November 21, 2011


I wonder what the items are that are obscured by the Millions header?
posted by zamboni at 9:00 AM on November 21, 2011


That would be great as one of those pictures you can zoom into forever (or until you get down to a penny, I guess). Kind of like this thing, only somehow super depressing.
posted by omnikron at 9:03 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


header sez: "Wow, today's comic was fun and exhausting. There's a poster of it in the store!"

There's a little bit more info there as well.

"This is the poster version of comic #980, which is a guide to money. It started as a project to understand taxes and government spending, and turned into a rather extensive research project. With upwards of 200 sources and 150,000 tiny boxes, it's best appreciated in poster form. The 36"x24" high-quality poster print allows you to stand back and, all at once, take in the entire world economy.

If you want an even bigger version, you can also buy the custom-printed four-poster tile pack. It comes as four individual 36"x24" posters which can be tiled on the wall, for a six-foot-wide mural view of the chart, allowing you to clearly read even the finest details.

This is a preorder and should ship around the start if December."
posted by paryshnikov at 9:05 AM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh my God, it's full of dollars.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:05 AM on November 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


One word of caution, at least in Opera it flooded my history by adding an entry whenever I panned or zoomed around, so I would definitely recommend opening a new tab for it.

Otherwise, it's absolutely amazing.
posted by kmz at 9:06 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh no, he didn't: he compared home-cooked food to restaurant meals by factoring in time required, based on the median US wage.

/nitpick

DU: I just got through scanning that. I wonder if he (or someone else) will offer a printed version.

Yes, he is. According to the forum post on this comic, the poster was available in the store before it was posted as a daily comic. You can also read the thread as a crowdsourced bughunt.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:06 AM on November 21, 2011


The average single US restaurant meal is over $35?? "Single" as in one meal for one person? Holy moly.
posted by lilac girl at 9:06 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, what the hell?

Annual federal government payments to dead retirees: $600,000,000

How does that... why would they... what?
posted by omnikron at 9:10 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


App, mains, drinks and dessert? $35 is about right for a US chain restaurant.
posted by bonehead at 9:11 AM on November 21, 2011


Yeah, two or three drinks will easily equal the cost of the entree.
posted by griphus at 9:12 AM on November 21, 2011


@omnikron: spouses and children get part of the retirement money of the deceased.
posted by knz at 9:12 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Under the heading "Who makes this money?" he breaks it down by households, which is very common and misleading. As Thomas Sowell documents in the book Economic Facts and Fallacies, higher-income households have a lot more people on average than lower-income households. So by framing things in terms of households, you can make it look like there's more "inequality" than there really is.

Also, he doesn't really answer the "Who?" question. People very often drift in and out of the different income categories. For instance, it's common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%. Those categories fail to capture anything about what happens to any one person over time. Again, if you're interested in a detailed discussion of this, read Sowell's book. A statistical category like "the bottom 50%" or "the top 1%" doesn't answer "Who?"
posted by John Cohen at 9:13 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


chain restaurants in the US are surprisingly expensive, and make up for it in insane portion size.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


spouses and children get part of the retirement money of the deceased.

Not just that. If an employee dies while still employed, their spouse and children will get lifetime payments, although I think only the spousal payments will be adjusted.
posted by griphus at 9:13 AM on November 21, 2011


Ah I see, they aren't doing it on purpose. Still, if I were a retiree, I would sleep with one eye open.
posted by omnikron at 9:19 AM on November 21, 2011


Daily pack of cigarettes for a year is cheaper than either a waist-deep half room ball pit or all 30 best selling game consoles.... Well, if that doesn't convince me to quit smoking, absolutely nothing will.

Yes, I realize that was his point...and I don't smoke a pack a day. But my household does. And we'd both enjoy a ball pit... I mean, gaming consoles
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:20 AM on November 21, 2011


Explain xkcd is...giving it a shot?
posted by weirdoactor at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2011


How about a ball pit made of gaming consoles?

On second thought, that'd be pretty ouchy.
posted by kmz at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Annual federal government payments to dead retirees: $600,000,000
spouses and children get part of the retirement money of the deceased.
Not just that. If an employee dies while still employed, their spouse and children will get lifetime payments


Don't freak out about this. This is the "social security" part of Social Security. Just because your bread-winning husband dies in a coal-mining accident doesn't mean you and your 9 children will starve.

It's kind of a misnomer to say it's "payments to dead retirees," as if we owe a continuing revenue stream to a dead person long past the amount they paid into the system, because rah-rah dead people.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


For instance, it's common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%.

Really? Define "common." Really. Please.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:22 AM on November 21, 2011 [36 favorites]


Don't freak out about this.

Freak out my ass, I'm paying the rent with it.
posted by griphus at 9:23 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


it's common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%

Cite? I think if this were true, there wouldn't be an Occupy Wall Street movement.
posted by gwint at 9:23 AM on November 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm apparently doing it wrong when I go out to eat.
posted by lilac girl at 9:23 AM on November 21, 2011


He left out the cost of a green dress (but not a real green dress).
posted by darksasami at 9:25 AM on November 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


Cite? I think if this were true, there wouldn't be an Occupy Wall Street movement.

It happened that one time in that one movie. Bootstraps, people, bootstraps!
posted by kmz at 9:26 AM on November 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


John Cohen: "statistical category like "the bottom 50%" or "the top 1%" doesn't answer "Who?""

Sure it does. "Who" is the people in that % for that sampling interval.
posted by notsnot at 9:26 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


It happened that one time in that one movie.

It depends on the population. Certain immigrant populations -- like the one I grew up in -- have a way from going from the bottom 25% to the top 25% in a matter of years, but that's only because they're entering the system already set up with skills to put them into the top 25% after they manage to establish themselves.
posted by griphus at 9:31 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


That would be great as one of those pictures you can zoom into forever (or until you get down to a penny, I guess).

In my head I'm picturing a Powers of 10-type video. Instead of a couple on a picnic blanket, you have a box representing, say, the median family income. Below that you zoom down into individual dollars and cents, maybe lower would be fractional interest earned on a typical checking account.

The more amusing (or depressing, I guess) side is imagining the zooming out, where you pass through the solar system - maybe that's a state budget. Then you pass through our local galaxy arm (defense spending?) and on out towards the the Superclusters. These would be hedge funds, I guess.
posted by odinsdream at 9:32 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


all 30 best selling game consoles

I hope that '0' is a typo.
posted by DU at 9:32 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm finding it really hard to view that chart properly, it's out of whack something chronic. I can only make out bits of it, while other bits are empty.


Anyway, I'll tell you about my social economics lecturer who visualized wealth disparity like this:

"Imagine at the start of this lecture there begins a parade of every person within the economy which will take exactly the length of this lecture to complete. They start at the poorest and end at the wealthiest. As they march by you can see their height is relative to their wealth. The parade begins now with the poorest of society, who is just an ant's height."

[One Hour Later]

"Now at the end of the lecture comes the very richest people. They hit their head on the Moon as they walk by."

I think he stole it from somewhere, but it's very easy to grasp.
posted by Jehan at 9:36 AM on November 21, 2011 [17 favorites]


Oh no, he didn't: he compared home-cooked food to restaurant meals by factoring in time required, based on the median US wage.

Yeah, that section's way off. First, even if you went to the store and bought only the stuff for rice and beans (or the chicken dinner) then went home to make it, it wouldn't take anywhere near two hours. Second, one typically buys the stuff for multiple meals when you go to the store. Third, nobody goes to the store and cooks meals instead of working.

Also, the number values in a few places don't match the pile of squares assigned to it, unless I'm missing something. The squares for the cost of natural gas make it look like the cheapest option, but the number may or may not be a juxtaposition from the cost of thermal solar.
posted by cmoj at 9:36 AM on November 21, 2011


common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%.

Not so much, except when the people in the bottom 20% are students who haven't gotten proper jobs yet.
posted by jeather at 9:36 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


For instance, it's common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%.

Really? Define "common." Really. Please.


I don't have data, but I have no trouble imagining that it happens all the time to young people who are leaving school finding their first real jobs, etc. It certainly happened to me, my household income(me and my wife) last year was $55,000, the year before was $17,000, next year will be over $100K. That doesn't mean that we live in a magical world where people succeed through hardwork and merit, it just means that two years ago we were both in school, last year only she was, and next year we'll both be working.

We're both children of middle class white people with good educations, exactly who you expect to do well (and we have), but the fact that it took us a couple years to get there will be present in the data.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:37 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


FOUND A MISTAKE! Exxon Mobil is listed three times under 3 different market caps.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:39 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


People very often drift in and out of the different income categories.


They drift downward, and exceptions to this are rare enough to be considered fantasy for the average American. What's worse, once you drift downward, due to unemployment or illness, neither you nor your children will re-attain your prior level.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:39 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%.

Not so much, except when the people in the bottom 20% are students who haven't gotten proper jobs yet.


Not even then, jeather. Most of those students are being supported by their parents, and declared to the IRS as dependents. Therefore, the only reasonable measure of their "income" is as part of their parents' household, which makes them unlikely to be in the bottom 20%.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:41 AM on November 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


For instance, it's common forfor the rightwing noise machine, which Sowell is part of, to tell stories about people in the bottom 20% to riseing to the top 20%.
posted by DU at 9:41 AM on November 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


The average single US restaurant meal is over $35?? "Single" as in one meal for one person? Holy moly.

Average. I would expect the median to be closer to $15-20. That said, I couldn't get the page to load without threatening to crash my browser so I bailed. It sounds pretty good, but eh, money.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:41 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Under the heading "Who makes this money?" he breaks it down by households, which is very common and misleading. As Thomas Sowell documents in the book Economic Facts and Fallacies, higher-income households have a lot more people on average than lower-income households. So by framing things in terms of households, you can make it look like there's more "inequality" than there really is.

Um. I grant that I have pretty crappy spreadsheet skills so I'm unable to figure national numbers for this from the data, but according to the American Community Survey's data (.xls file) on state median family income by family size for Ohio (which, glancing at some of the other state data, does not seem to be an outlier):

(Ohio) | Estimate | Margin of Error (+/-)
Total: | 58,868 | 261
2-person families | 51,375 | 316
3-person families | 60,787 | 601
4-person families | 72,817 | 676
5-person families | 70,115 | 1,016
6-person families | 65,679 | 1,560
7-or-more-person families | 60,553 | 2,784

So, we see that for Ohio income rises as family size increases until family size = 4, at which point median family income decreases.

This is pretty much what I guessed would be the case, and I would interpret this data as saying that for middle class families, household size and income generally increase with time but household size does not usually grow beyond four or five persons.

If the only information one has about a particular household is that there are 12 persons living in it, there is a very good chance that you are not speaking about a particularly wealthy household, especially in this era of widespread couch-surfing and doubling-up.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:43 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Most of those students are being supported by their parents, and declared to the IRS as dependents. Therefore, the only reasonable measure of their "income" is as part of their parents' household, which makes them unlikely to be in the bottom 20%.

Let me rephrase, then. Most of the people who go from the bottom 20% to the top 20% are in the bottom 20% as students. Most students are not in this position, but most people in this position started off as students from middle class or higher homes.
posted by jeather at 9:44 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Average. I would expect the median to be closer to $15-20.

That sounds right to me; I know when I eat out it tends to be in the $15-20/person range. I expect that you've got some rich people dropping $70/person on a meal(Hi, in-laws) dragging the average up. Or maybe people are just ordering those gargantuan appetizers that places are always trying to push on you.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:45 AM on November 21, 2011


By higher class I mean wealthier.
posted by jeather at 9:45 AM on November 21, 2011


evidence on intergenerational mobility suggests mobility in united states is low compared to other developed nations
http://www.economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/CRITA_FINAL.pdf
http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/why/evidence/social-mobility
posted by markvalli at 9:49 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just writing some salient numbers down once again for effect:

Value of all gold ever mined: $ 009,120,000,000,000 +
Value of World liquid assets: $ 072,120,000,000,000 +
Value of proven oil reserves: $ 124,000,000,000,000 =
___________________________________________________
Sum of all of the above stuff:$ 020,524,000,000,000 is greater than:
Size of derivatives mkt ('09):$ 439,000,000,000,000


(Tried to line up the zero's so you can compare easily)

We're well and truly fucked, aren't we.
posted by the cydonian at 9:50 AM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


So by framing things in terms of households, you can make it look like there's more "inequality" than there really is.
Something similar happens for poverty.

I've often been ruefully amused by the fact that the poverty rate in the USA was steadily plunging through the middle of the 20th century (the earliest I could find statistics for), then becomes practically a flat constant right when the "War on Poverty" starts.

But it turns out to be more complicated than that: if you break out poverty statistics by household type (married/single male/single female) cross (with kids/without kids), then every single household type continues to see a dramatic, decades-spanning reduction in poverty rate... but the overall rate remains flat because so many more households are now of the higher risk single parent kind.

There's another sad effect that works in opposite directions for inequality vs poverty. Inequality statistics are distorted by age difference: even in a population full of identical clones who go through identical careers, statistics will still show significant income inequality and dramatic wealth inequality, because the older people will be in more-experience-required higher-paying jobs and they'll have had more years to accumulate the surplus wealth from that pay. So inequality is overstated. But by the same token, poverty could be considered understated: children aren't being raised by wealthy old empty-nesters, they're being raised by the young people who are still trying (and disproportionately failing) to build their careers. So the poverty stats tend to be an understatement of how poverty affects the most innocent and vulnerable.
posted by roystgnr at 9:52 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: It sounds pretty good, but eh, money.
posted by contrarian at 9:53 AM on November 21, 2011


Bulgaroktonos, I was assuming that "common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%" meant generationally-- that is, if you were born into a family that during their average span were in the bottom 20%, it was "common" for the next generation to wind up in the top 20%. Here is a chart "Growth in After-Tax Income For the Top 1% Has Far Outpaced Growth for Others" which shows that between 1979 and 2004, the bottom 20% growth was around 10% (as opposed to 175% growth for the top 1%)
posted by gwint at 9:53 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me do that again. A missing zero. Baaaaah!

Value of all gold ever mined: $ 009,120,000,000,000 +
Value of World liquid assets: $ 072,120,000,000,000 +
Value of proven oil reserves: $ 124,000,000,000,000 =
___________________________________________________
Sum of all of the above stuff:$ 205,240,000,000,000 is greater than:
Size of derivatives mkt ('09):$ 439,000,000,000,000


We're still well and truly fucked, missing zero or not.
posted by the cydonian at 9:54 AM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


If it were'common', they wouldn't be the top 20%. By definition that's only 20% of the population to start with, and I'd wager a fair number of them were never anywhere else.
posted by empath at 9:55 AM on November 21, 2011


Cydonian, I think you meant less than.
posted by jeather at 9:56 AM on November 21, 2011


I don't have data, but I have no trouble imagining that it happens all the time to young people who are leaving school finding their first real jobs, etc

I think you are massively overestimating the percentage of the population that is in this position at any given time. Only a smallish percentage of the country ever even gets an undergraduate degree; only a small percentage of them are recent graduates working shit jobs on their way to a solid middle-class income.

Yes, it happens. But it's not very common when you zoom your lens out and remember how unusual post-secondary education actually is, nationwide.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:57 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cydonian, I think you meant less than.

AAAARRGGGGGHHHHHHHH! Yes, I did. Less than. I meant less than.

I blame my troubles on the fast-setting London sun; been progressively getting crazy ever since I realized the sun sets in these parts at this time at 4pm. Or something.
posted by the cydonian at 10:01 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think you are massively overestimating the percentage of the population that is in this position at any given time. Only a smallish percentage of the country ever even gets an undergraduate degree; only a small percentage of them are recent graduates working shit jobs on their way to a solid middle-class income.

I never estimated the percentage of the population in that position, so I can't have overestimated it. I also never said that I believed that jumping from one income segment to another was common for the population at large. I just said that I thought the bottom 20% to top 20% change would be common for a certain segment of the population, and that not much about income mobility could be drawn from that sort of movement.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:04 AM on November 21, 2011


Here's some pre-crash info on income mobility (PDF). From the summary:
• There was considerable income mobility of individuals in the U.S. economy during
the 1996 through 2005 period as over half of taxpayers moved to a different income quintile over this period.
• Roughly half of taxpayers who began in the bottom income quintile in 1996 moved up to a higher income group by 2005.
• Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996 – the top 1/100 of 1 percent – only 25 percent remained in this group in 2005. Moreover, the median real income of these taxpayers declined over this period.
• The degree of mobility among income groups is unchanged from the prior decade (1987 through 1996).
• Economic growth resulted in rising incomes for most taxpayers over the period from 1996 to 2005. Median incomes of all taxpayers increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation. The real incomes of two-thirds of all taxpayers increased over this period. In addition, the median incomes of those initially in the lower income groups increased more than the median incomes of those initially in the higher income groups.
posted by desjardins at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


"This is the poster version of comic #980...This is a preorder and should ship around the start if December."

I suppose it's too much to hope that the delay is to give him time to fix all the typos that the million-staring-eyes of the internet will surely find? I think I spotted a couple just glancing at the the thing (e.g. it lists the same number for J.K. Rowling's actual net worth and how much she'd make if she were a rapper, but the number of boxes depicted differs; there's a company listed in the "millions" section without any boxes next to it...)
posted by straight at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2011


How can the combined net worth of the world's 1,210 billionaires only be $334 billion and change? Surely it should be at least $1.21 trillion. Forbes says their net worth is $4.5 trillion.
posted by jedicus at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


As Thomas Sowell documents in the book Economic Facts and Fallacies, higher-income households have a lot more people on average than lower-income households.

I checked this. Page 143:
...the poorest fifth of households contain 25 million fewer people than the fifth of households with the highest incomes.
Is that really "a lot"? Unless I've totally goofed my math, that would be only a five percent variation from equal distribution across the quintiles. I always get a little suspicious when people talk in terms of percentages throughout an argument, then drop down to raw numbers for the "surprising" conclusion. Which is what he does there.

(In any case, wouldn't some of that disparity be a totally unsurprising result of the fact that the high income households are often high income because they are larger, and have more wage earners in them?)


None of this is to say that households are necessarily always going to be a better way to measure this than individuals -- just that he seems willing to resort to some apples-and-oranges comparisons of his own to support his argument against apples-and-oranges comparisons.
posted by ook at 10:22 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you are massively overestimating the percentage of the population that is in this position at any given time. Only a smallish percentage of the country ever even gets an undergraduate degree; only a small percentage of them are recent graduates working shit jobs on their way to a solid middle-class income.

About 78/200M (39%) US residents aged 25 and over have a post-secondary degree; that's not rare.

The top 20% starts at about 100k. It's well possible for someone with experience in trades to make that by the end of their career and start out making very very little. Police in big cities can end up making something like that. Small business S-corp owners end up there easily.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:22 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently the jackass who pepper-sprayed the kids at UCD made > $110k. So there's that.
posted by scolbath at 10:28 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


But if inter-generation income mobility is interesting, I know a number of people have looked at NLSY- Children of NLSY for that.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:28 AM on November 21, 2011


I did goof my math, it's a 20% difference, not five. Carry on.
posted by ook at 10:30 AM on November 21, 2011


About 78/200M (39%) US residents aged 25 and over have a post-secondary degree;

60/200=30\%. AA's don't normally "count" as an undergraduate degree for most statistical purposes.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:36 AM on November 21, 2011


Here's a more recent report (pdf) on income inequality (but not specifically mobility). It addresses the difference in household sizes by using equivalence adjusted income.
For example, the money-income-based distribution treats an income of $30,000 for a single-person household and a family household similarly, while the equivalence-adjusted income of $30,000 for a single-person household would be more than twice the equivalence-adjusted income of $30,000 for a family household with two adults and two children. [...]

For both 2009 and 2010, the Gini index was lower based on an equivalence-adjusted income estimate than on the traditional moneyincome estimate, suggesting a more equal income distribution. [...]

[At] the lower end of the income distribution there are a higher concentration of single-person households and smaller family sizes in relation to those at the upper end of the distribution. Thus, equivalence adjusting increases the relative income of people living in lower-income groups. (from pages 10-11)
posted by desjardins at 10:36 AM on November 21, 2011


So how does the suitcase of 100 dollar bills (30,000 count) which should be $3 million dollars end up being larger than Romney's net worth (210 million)?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:39 AM on November 21, 2011


it's common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%

According to Economic Mobility of Families Across Generations (2007), if your parents are bottom 20%, then you have a 6% chance of making it to the top 20%. I suppose it depends on whether you think one in seventeen is "common".
posted by martinrebas at 10:48 AM on November 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


lol, you think in latex. I counted the AAs since many of those are trades training where you could tell the same story of cohort income mobility. I think the point stands that 30% is a substantial number.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:48 AM on November 21, 2011


I think there's a typo in the presidential election section -- shouldn't it be 2004 Presidential Campaign fundraising rather than 2010 (Bush, Kerry, Dean, Edwards)?
posted by garisimo at 10:53 AM on November 21, 2011


He left out the cost of a green dress (but not a real green dress).

So what? The big thing he leaves out is a monkey. Haven't you always wanted a monkey?
posted by phearlez at 10:53 AM on November 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Unsurprisingly, the xkcd forums have already assembled a substantial list of required corrections.
posted by zamboni at 10:55 AM on November 21, 2011


Delusions of Mobility Obligatory Paul Krugman commentary on high income mobility.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 11:01 AM on November 21, 2011


Whoa. The two errors I'd noted have already been corrected. Nice.
posted by straight at 11:04 AM on November 21, 2011


How can the combined net worth of the world's 1,210 billionaires only be $334 billion and change? Surely it should be at least $1.21 trillion. Forbes says their net worth is $4.5 trillion.

So does the chart. Check near the middle, section "Billionaires."

I was disappointed that Artemis Fowl didn't turn out to be the secret identity of Darkwing Duck.
posted by JHarris at 11:06 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think more things should be amortized over velociraptors.

Also, from the interesting things he learned section: "The EPA has a dollar value for human life; it's currently at $8.4 million. They don't like to talk about it; they call it a VSL (Value of Statistical Life), and tend to use terms like "1000 Micro-VSLs".
posted by JHarris at 11:22 AM on November 21, 2011


Size of derivatives mkt ('09):$ 439,000,000,000,000

The latest report from the Bank for International Settlements puts the total notional amount of outstanding privately traded derivatives at $708 trillion USD at the end of June 2011. This was an 18% rise over the 6 month period from January to June; the fourth biggest six month increase on record.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:32 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tomorrowful: "Really? Define "common." Really. Please."

In 2001, your family only need to earn about 97k to be in the top 20 percent. On the other end, the bottom quintile is 24k.

In a bit of life story, I'd estimate that I moved from living with my divorced mother at age 18 in the bottom quintile, to now living single in the middle quartile. In the future I expect to get a few raises / role to bump me up another quintile, and if I were promoted to management or had a spouse who worked, that'd be the top 20 percent.

But I completely recognize the key variable here is education outcomes, and that my mom is essentially bankrupt because she prioritized keeping her kids in a good school district over saving for retirement or emergency healthcare. Arguably divorce is another source of family income / wealth destruction, and I doubt family income attributes any productivity to stay-at-home wifes doing all the cooking, cleaning and childcare.

I take this all to indicate that the top quintile vs bottom quintile is not the disparity we should care about. Rather it's an argument for a millionaire tax bracket, and better oversight among the .01 percent. Hedge fund managers paid in capital gains and bizarre regulations letting you get paid immediately in long term capital gains is the sort of inequality we should really put an end to.
posted by pwnguin at 11:48 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


$708 trillion USD

This makes me physically ill.
posted by desjardins at 11:49 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


then you have a 6% chance of making it to the top 20%. I suppose it depends on whether you think one in seventeen is "common".
Complete, perfect mobility would be a 20% chance. Yet "it depends on whether you think one in five is common" would still work pretty well as snarky rhetoric. I think the rhetoric may be misleading.
posted by roystgnr at 11:55 AM on November 21, 2011


U.S. spending during WWII: $4.1 trillion (over four years)
U.S. spending during Iraq and/or Afghanistan wars: $1.1 trillion (over ten years)

so...

WWII spending = $1 trillion per year
I & A spending = $110 billion per year

Progress!
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 12:00 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's common for people in the bottom 20% to rise to the top 20%

John Cohen, do you have some numbers to substantiate this hypothesis?

How Class Works is an infographic based on US Census data, which shows that, between 1988 and 1998, of the bottom 20%, only a small fraction (~5%) rose to the top 20%.

That seems less like common and more like statistical noise. What do you think?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:04 PM on November 21, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: "That seems less like common and more like statistical noise. What do you think?"

I think it's not bad for ten years. Am I right?
posted by pwnguin at 12:07 PM on November 21, 2011


a robot made out of meat: "Small business S-corp owners end up there easily."

But that's part of the problem, isn't it?

Dependent college students and S-Corp owners add a lot of statistical noise to these numbers, and muddle the subsequent discussion.

Since we've already discussed the noise at the bottom end of the scale, let's talk about the top 10% who probably don't "belong" there, especially since one such person became a major talking-point in the last election (Joe the Plumber).

Small business owners can be especially problematic for this discussion, because they often (legitimately) pay a large portion of their business expenses out of their own pockets. Although this is all deducted* for tax purposes, I don't think we've seen much discussion about the "Pretax 1%" vs the "Posttax 1%."

S-Corp taxation is a fair bit more complicated than this. I'm not an expert. Somebody else should probably try to explain this.

Joe's plumbing business pulls in a lot of cash. Let's say $500k a year (that number was apparently in dispute, but let's assume that Joe was being honest for the sake of this discussion). That's a lot of money, but operating a business isn't free, and Joe incurs about $400k of expenses, allowing him to "pay" himself a $100k salary. Running a business isn't cheap. I believe there was also some discussion that Joe had a terrible accountant who wasn't taking nearly enough business deductions, and probably shouldn't have been operating as an S-Corp at all.

Now, although $100k is certainly nothing to sneeze at, by virtue of being self-employed, Joe gets no fringe benefits, and will need to knock off at least another $20k for benefits that would normally be provided by an employer.

The world of a small-business owner is tumultuous, and S-Corp owners often find themselves digging into their own pockets to compensate for a bad year, or to make investments to expand the business. For this reason, Joe's "rainy day" fund needs to be much, much larger than most people keep, and needs to be putting every spare penny into savings.

When you get to the bottom of it, Joe's still operating a successful small business, but isn't "making" nearly as much money as he thinks he is. Unfortunately, because he had a terrible accountant, the government also thinks he's making way more than he is. There's a case to be made for ensuring that small-business owners are taxed fairly, but the GOP unfortunately squandered that opportunity by lumping Joe in with the Wall St billionaires.

I've worked for small business owners who are under the impression/delusion that they're making a killing by neglecting to insure themselves, cheating on their taxes (and not contributing much to Social Security), and paying their employees next to nothing. At the end of the day, these guys aren't wealthy at all, and are setting themselves up to be royally screwed in the long-run.

I don't have anything against small businesses. However, people tend to be really, really bad at estimating their location on the income spectrum, and small business owners seem to be among the worst, since they get to directly measure the amount of cash flowing through their hands. The actual dollar amount of your income comes with enough caveats to be a rather bad measure of wealth, and a lot of small business owners are erroneously lumped in with the top-10%.
posted by schmod at 12:08 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, my math was off, 1/40 = ~2.5%, not 5%. So the idea of class mobility seems even more mythical, in that light.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:09 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's not bad for ten years. Am I right?

It seems within the realm of statistical noise. The numbers seem to suggest that someone from the bottom 20% will jump up to the top 20% by random chance, i.e., lucky circumstances. That doesn't seem to meet the definition of common, to me.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:14 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seems within the realm of statistical noise. The numbers seem to suggest that someone from the bottom 20% will jump up to the top 20% by random chance, i.e., lucky circumstances. That doesn't seem to meet the definition of common, to me.

Well the numbers did sound better when you said they were five. At that point, over 40 years, the typical working career length, it adds up to 20 percent. When you figure the range is between 0 and 20, and you start to imagine what a world of 20 percent over short durations looks like, 2.5 percent isn't nothing. Low, but the range is compressed.

Now, is 2.5 percent statistical noise? To establish p<.05 (or whatever your metric), we'd really need to know sample size :P
posted by pwnguin at 12:27 PM on November 21, 2011


The world of a small-business owner is tumultuous, and S-Corp owners often find themselves digging into their own pockets to compensate for a bad year

Welcome to the world of maxwelton heavy industries, inc.
posted by maxwelton at 12:31 PM on November 21, 2011


5% would imply greater mobility than 2.5%. In any case, neither value strikes me as supporting the argument that upward class mobility is "common", and certainly 2.5% is worse, in that regard.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:35 PM on November 21, 2011


Without digging into issues of what numbers constitute appropriate upward mobility, Blazecock - the number you are debating appears to be the number that moved through all five buckets, from lowest to highest. From Randall's chart, that's a move of 800% at a minimum - pretty good. Presumably, a larger number of people went from 1-3 buckets, which in many cases is still a substantial increase.

I realize the American dream is about becoming filthy stinking rich, but sometimes just becoming stinking rich or even filthy rich is just fine :-)
posted by scolbath at 12:40 PM on November 21, 2011


I realize the American dream is about becoming filthy stinking rich, but sometimes just becoming stinking rich or even filthy rich is just fine

*Looks at self*

Two out of three ain't bad ...
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:47 PM on November 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Blazecock - the number you are debating appears to be the number that moved through all five buckets, from lowest to highest

I am referring to John Cohen's comment, in which he states that it is common for the bottom fifth to move to the top fifth of income earners. The US Census data contradict Thomas Sowell's claim. Both the US Census and Sowell could have bad data or bad interpretations, but at least as far as their shared hypothesis goes, it doesn't seem like they can both be correct.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:48 PM on November 21, 2011


I realize the American dream is about becoming filthy stinking rich, but sometimes just becoming stinking rich or even filthy rich is just fine

*Looks at self*

Two out of three ain't bad ...


Ahem.

I'm filthy
He's filthy
I'm stinking
He's stinking
But there ain't no way I'm every gonna be rich
So don't be sad...
'Cause two out of three ain't bad.
posted by grubi at 12:51 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll probably actually buy a print of that, if the typos are corrected.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 1:15 PM on November 21, 2011


Has he updated that radiation chart to reflect the actual radiation levels at Fukushima? As opposed to the ones that had been initially reported? I think They actually measured 1 sievert there, on meters that went went up to 1 sievert. The largest value for Fukushima on the XKCD chart is 0.18 sieverts .

The total amount of radioactive material released (measured in Becquerels as opposed to the absolute radiation levels at Fukushima is about 10% of the amount released at Chernobyl at least.

So the chart really misleading on the relative radiation releases at Fukushima and Chernobyl.
posted by delmoi at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


How the hell is this worth $135m?
posted by delmoi at 1:30 PM on November 21, 2011


WWII spending = $1 trillion per year
I & A spending = $110 billion per year

Progress!


I know you're being sarcastic, but it's interesting to discuss the reasons why the spending is so different. For one thing, we're not waging major battle offensives against a technologically and numerically comparable force, the way Germany and Japan were. Also, a lot of the non-com roles that were performed by active duty soldiers on a military payscale are now going to private contractors that have lower overhead because they pay less and have substandard equipment. Finally, a significant portion of the spending of WWII went to major R&D projects, and wound up leading to things like computers, nuclear power (for better or for worse, it's still a big deal), and jet airplanes. The biggest contribution R&D from Iraq and Afghanistan has given civil society is domestic surveillance drones.

You don't need me to explain to you why the wars are totally fucked up, but we shouldn't forget it.
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:44 PM on November 21, 2011


How the hell is this worth $135m?

Are you saying it's not 75 times as valuable as this?
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


After the Warren Buffet NYT piece in August where he reiterated that he pays a lower percentage of his income in federal taxes than his secretary does, I was kind of surprised that this is showing the 1%ers as paying about twice as large a fraction of their incomes to the IRS as the "upper middle class" category (the last one above the bottom 50%) and that it seems to indicate that the "upper middle class" taxpayers are only paying a seventh or an eighth of their income as "effective federal taxes paid."
posted by XMLicious at 2:12 PM on November 21, 2011


How the hell is this worth $135m?

Heh, yeah, um, because people are willing to pay that much for it?

I sold my Eddie Murray rookie card to a friend for $35 in 1989 to buy Christmas presents for my family. Although I thought the market had bottomed out, it's now apparently worth (asking) $190 or so.

How the hell is a 3x5 scrap of cardboard worth $190? (Actually, I bet that asking price is ridiculous ... yep.)

Nevermind.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:13 PM on November 21, 2011


In 2000, I sold a shitload of pre-Fourth Edition Magic: The Gathering cards to someone for about $40 to buy my mom a birthday present. Now that I've started playing M:TG again, I don't even want to know how much those cards are worth now. Mainly because it's either a lot more or a lot less than I think would be decent.
posted by griphus at 2:16 PM on November 21, 2011


Using his numbers I just guesstimated how much I spend on pets every year. And then I got really depressed at the awesome cars and yachts those furry (and feathered, scaled, fishy, etc) bastards are keeping me from getting.

And I didn't even get too far out of the "Dollars" part and into the "Thousands". Having millions must be weird.
posted by quin at 3:28 PM on November 21, 2011


Someone should carve this into titanium and put it in a geographically prominent location, alongside the caption, "This is why civilization ended". That way, the alien archaeologists will have an answer when they ask the inevitable question, "WTF?"
posted by Afroblanco at 4:57 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you zoom out far enough, you'll see the banana stand.
posted by schmod at 10:25 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I sold my Eddie Murray rookie card to a friend for $35 in 1989 to buy Christmas presents for my family.

OFFTOPIC Do they even still make baseball cards? Do kids still buy them with bubblegum? It seems like it must be now one of those things where it's gone over entirely into the collector's market.
posted by JHarris at 10:30 PM on November 21, 2011


Third, nobody goes to the store and cooks meals instead of working.


Well...I do.
I quit my job to be a "homemaker" as the parlance goes. So, yeah, I make dinner instead of working.
posted by madajb at 11:28 PM on November 21, 2011


I knew Yale was probably our of our son's financial reach. Really bummed to see Hogwart's is too.
posted by Mchelly at 4:07 AM on November 22, 2011


Third, nobody goes to the store and cooks meals instead of working.

Being a homemaker isn't work?
posted by grubi at 6:32 AM on November 22, 2011


If you zoom out far enough, you'll see the banana stand.

Those are balls.
posted by griphus at 6:35 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you zoom out far enough, you'll see the banana stand.

Those are balls.


Right. I forgot. Here in the States, you call it a sausage in the mouth.
posted by grubi at 6:57 AM on November 22, 2011


Yeah, that section's way off. First, even if you went to the store and bought only the stuff for rice and beans (or the chicken dinner) then went home to make it, it wouldn't take anywhere near two hours. Second, one typically buys the stuff for multiple meals when you go to the store. Third, nobody goes to the store and cooks meals instead of working.

Putting aside the homemaker issue, I don't think much of the above reflects the reality of a lot of people. For one, the ability to pay for and store multiple days worth of food reflects an economic and social reality that a lot of people don't live in. Ditto the working vs cooking if you're doing multiple jobs and being paid hourly for them. People may not be making the decision on a per-day basis but there's without question folks choosing prepared meals over full prep because of their working choices.

Two, the time trade for my doing my own cooking isn't limited to just getting the material; there's prep-work and post-meal cleanup in addition to cooking and eating. If stuff requires baking or longer braising times the cooking part can be time consuming for me in a way that it isn't for a restaurant.

It ain't a perfect trade-off but at some point you have to create some conversions. The idea of time as money isn't a big stretch.
posted by phearlez at 8:49 AM on November 22, 2011


Being a homemaker isn't work?

Ugh. You know exactly what I'm saying. You're not taking time out of "money-making time" to shop.
posted by cmoj at 8:50 AM on November 22, 2011


Two, the time trade for my doing my own cooking isn't limited to just getting the material; there's prep-work and post-meal cleanup in addition to cooking and eating. If stuff requires baking or longer braising times the cooking part can be time consuming for me in a way that it isn't for a restaurant.

Fine, but you're not staring at your chicken while it roasts for an hour. I cook almost all of my meals from scratch, and unless you're a 1880's frontier housewife grinding your corn pone and chopping wood, I don't believe for a second that you've got two hours invested in a meal on average.
posted by cmoj at 8:54 AM on November 22, 2011


Being a homemaker isn't work?

To be honest, I find it easier (or at least, less tedious) than the office jobs I've had.

At least with a toddler, I get naptime, something that is often frowned upon in the budget meetings I've attended.

But in the context above, "working", as I read it, meant "getting paid".
posted by madajb at 9:26 AM on November 22, 2011


cmoj: "Ugh. You know exactly what I'm saying. You're not taking time out of "money-making time" to shop."

It comes out of leisure time, which I book at greater value than money-making time. I suspect everyone does, or we'd all be working all the time.
posted by pwnguin at 9:31 AM on November 22, 2011


But you're not making money during leisure time. I don't see what's so hard about this. You don't get to quantify your time spent watching 3 1/2 Men economically.
posted by cmoj at 9:35 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So leisure time is worthless because you're not earning money during that time? That's insane.
posted by grubi at 9:44 AM on November 22, 2011



Ugh. You know exactly what I'm saying. You're not taking time out of "money-making time" to shop.


Oh, sure, I know.
I'm just mentioning that for some households, saving money by spending more time shopping is an economic choice that can be calculated monetarily.
posted by madajb at 9:45 AM on November 22, 2011


cmoj: "I don't see what's so hard about this. You don't get to quantify your time spent watching 3 1/2 Men economically."

Why not?
posted by pwnguin at 9:49 AM on November 22, 2011


If it's "3 1/2 Men", you're already watching 71% more efficiently.
posted by grubi at 10:01 AM on November 22, 2011


oops. 40%.
posted by grubi at 10:03 AM on November 22, 2011


Fine, but you're not staring at your chicken while it roasts for an hour.

I like to whisper encouraging words and inspirational poetry to my roasts.
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on November 22, 2011


I like to whisper encouraging words and inspirational poetry to my roasts.

I go all R Lee Ermey on mine and berate it into savory deliciousness.
posted by grubi at 10:04 AM on November 22, 2011


Why not?

I guess you could say you're contributing advertising revenue, but you yourself aren't making or losing money doing that, assuming you're not calling in sick to watch a marathon or something. I don't know how to put it more simply.

So leisure time is worthless because you're not earning money during that time? That's insane.

Worth != worth money.
posted by cmoj at 10:22 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not really worthy an FPP, and i'm not sure if this is the best thread to leave this in, but this is delicious.
posted by kmz at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2011


Funny derail ...

So leisure time is worthless because you're not earning money during that time? That's insane.

Exactly, cmoj. Not "worthless," "invaluable."

If you get paid a salary, and are required a certain amount of work/time each week, you can really consider all your free and committed time as already paid, imo. You are going to get paid the same each week no matter what you do.

Third, nobody goes to the store and cooks meals instead of working.

A more (anally) accurate phrase would be "no one gets her pay docked because he goes to the store later and cooks meals in her free time."

For one, the ability to pay for and store multiple days worth of food reflects an economic and social reality that a lot of people don't live in.

Shenanigans.

Being a homemaker isn't work?

To be honest, I find it easier (or at least, less tedious) than the office jobs I've had.


I do the calculation every day ... how much money do I make? How much does childcare cost? ... How much would I our family be willing to cut to let me stay home ... Oh, I dream of being a homemaker. I just need my wife to make some more money. C'mon, honey!
posted by mrgrimm at 10:51 AM on November 22, 2011


Worth != worth money.

Why is this an important distinction? We know that working professionals with disposable income eat out more than their lower income counterparts. Clearly people are doing the math you're claiming isn't possible. Economists estimate the market value of non-currency transactions all the time to get a common unit of account, and it seems more sensible to me to that unit be dollars than hours of Charlie Sheen.
posted by pwnguin at 11:05 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


For one, the ability to pay for and store multiple days worth of food reflects an economic and social reality that a lot of people don't live in.

Shenanigans.


I'm going to assume that in english that means "I disagree." To which I say, you're wrong. Particularly for the folks who may have to choose between another hour working (or engaging in potentially money-generating activity, if you prefer) and time cooking.

A lot of the world shops daily, not weekly, particularly for fresh/perishables.
posted by phearlez at 11:40 AM on November 22, 2011


A lot of the world doesn't have to use cars to go everywhere, leaving the people without cars at a tremendous disadvantage. We've discussed food deserts here before, and I think it is relevant.
posted by desjardins at 11:45 AM on November 22, 2011


A lot of the world shops daily, not weekly, particularly for fresh/perishables.

Thank goodness you're hear to speak for A Lot of the World.
posted by grubi at 11:52 AM on November 22, 2011


A lot of the world doesn't have to use cars to go everywhere, leaving the people without cars at a tremendous disadvantage.

Wow, on rereading, that doesn't make any sense, although you probably got what I meant. For clarity's sake: A lot of the world doesn't have to use cars to go everywhere. Cars are indispensable in most parts of the US, leaving the people without cars at a tremendous disadvantage.
posted by desjardins at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2011


Oh, I dream of being a homemaker. I just need my wife to make some more money. C'mon, honey!

The need for your wife to make more money doesn't stop when you become a homemaker. All those toddler ballerina classes are expensive! heh.
posted by madajb at 12:47 PM on November 22, 2011


A lot of the world shops daily, not weekly, particularly for fresh/perishables.

>> Thank goodness you're here to speak for A Lot of the World.


Of all the things worth arguing about in this thread, this isn't one of them. This is how it works in a lot of places outside the US for a variety of reasons. I'm shocked to see someone dispute this.

For one, the ability to pay for and store multiple days worth of food reflects an economic and social reality that a lot of people don't live in.

You can call "shenanigans" on this but that doesn't make it less true. I am CONSTANTLY reading on MeFi how I can save money if I just buy in bulk! Use my freezer! Can food from my garden!

There are no Sams or Costcos in this country. I cannot afford nor do I have room for in my perfectly average, 550 sq ft house, a deep freezer. The electrical costs of running such an appliance make them a rarity, even on Freecycle. And I remember posting not long ago a concrete example where washing powder was buy 2 get 1 free. Which is great, but I didn't have the spare money for the second to get the third. Literally did not have it. And we're not even living below the poverty line. Does any of this clear up your world view for you, Captain Dismissive?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:43 PM on November 22, 2011


I'm shocked to see someone dispute this.

I'm equally shocked that someone expects me to take an assertion at face value.
posted by grubi at 1:47 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why is this an important distinction?

Because we're talking about money. That's what the FPP is about and that's what the entire discussion is about. That's what an economy is.

We know that working professionals with disposable income eat out more than their lower income counterparts. Clearly people are doing the math you're claiming isn't possible.

I'm struggling to see how that's relavent to claiming that it takes two hours of time per meal to shop and prepare, or that those two hours somehow translate into money.

Economists estimate the market value of non-currency transactions all the time to get a common unit of account, and it seems more sensible to me to that unit be dollars than hours of Charlie Sheen.

If economist do something "all the time," then I'd take that as a pretty good indicator that it can be dismissed as nonsense. Time is not money. Time is time, and money has been an abstraction for a long time now.
posted by cmoj at 1:59 PM on November 22, 2011


I'm equally shocked that someone expects me to take an assertion at face value.

Then ask for clarification, sources or cites. If the experience of your fellow MeFites who actually live and function outside the US isn't sufficient, I'm sure we'd be happy to dig up cites for you. This is the sort of thing the EU enjoys studying and producing data on.

Our markets: we shop in them! Daily! Because our refrigerators are this big! And when they are not, it's a signal of being middle class or better.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:01 PM on November 22, 2011


Thank goodness you're hear to speak for A Lot of the World.

What the hell dude? I'm just saying there's some justification, when you are picking a one-size-fits-all metric to compare time to money on the subject of cooking, to consider more than the time it takes to yank ingredients out of the fridge.

If you just cannot abide considering anyone's experience other than your own then think of it as amortizing out the time involved in shopping. Though that's also going to make you nuts if you're used to driving 1.2 miles to a big box store since an average that fits everyone will have to accommodate people who walk or take a bus to do their shopping.
posted by phearlez at 2:44 PM on November 22, 2011


What the hell dude? I'm just saying there's some justification, when you are picking a one-size-fits-all metric to compare time to money on the subject of cooking, to consider more than the time it takes to yank ingredients out of the fridge.

If you just cannot abide considering anyone's experience other than your own then think of it as amortizing out the time involved in shopping. Though that's also going to make you nuts if you're used to driving 1.2 miles to a big box store since an average that fits everyone will have to accommodate people who walk or take a bus to do their shopping.


Show me exactly what I said that warrants such vitriolic attitude. i think you're confusing me with someone else who said something else.
posted by grubi at 2:54 PM on November 22, 2011


cmoj: "Time is not money. Time is time, and money has been an abstraction for a long time now."

What are interest rates or hourly wages, if not a variable equating time to money? Labor isn't "free" just because you're allocating it to yourself, just harder to measure.

The chart does an okay job comparing the price of home cooked food to takeout, and suggests another comparison factoring in the time cost; a slightly better chart might have compared like for like, and maybe demonstrated the hourly wage necessary to break even instead of assuming the median. And if you want to debate the proper accounting of time needed to prepare a chicken dinner, okay, but we just had that debate last month, sorry that you missed it.

Anyways, I don't understand, in a chart that includes 7 years tuition to wizard boarding school and the net worth of Scrooge McDuck, why we're calling a 2 hour prep for chicken dinners a work of fiction.
posted by pwnguin at 5:00 PM on November 22, 2011


Anyways, I don't understand, in a chart that includes 7 years tuition to wizard boarding school and the net worth of Scrooge McDuck, why we're calling a 2 hour prep for chicken dinners a work of fiction.

Grr. I hate when people make this kind of category error. Unless you're pointing out that the net worth of Scrooge McDuck as portrayed in the comics is, unlike the prep time for a chicken dinner, and easily verifiable fact?
posted by straight at 6:17 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Hogwarts thing is a joke. The home-made dinner thing is supposed to be a valid comparison to the other figures presented. It's not. First because it makes no sense at all that meals take two hours apiece to prepare on average, whether you go the market every day or not. Second, you don't get a wage for sleeping, or jerking off, or going to the store, or cooking, and you don't pay to do it either.

If you can't understand that, then I've got whole boxes of time I'll ship to you for 50 cents a minute.
posted by cmoj at 8:41 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Show me exactly what I said that warrants such vitriolic attitude.

Okay. "Thank goodness you're hear to speak for A Lot of the World."

If you don't understand how obnoxious that is then maybe you should read it again.
posted by phearlez at 6:31 AM on November 24, 2011


Real question: I didn't see any drug money in the chart. Is it anywhere in there (and not disguised as something else)?
posted by omegar at 8:33 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


What are interest rates or hourly wages, if not a variable equating time to money?

It's not an equality, but an exchange. The rate of exchange is determined by market forces generally, which is variable, and you still have to find someone willing to make the exchange. So, no.
posted by JHarris at 5:42 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


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