October 15, 2005

Inflationary Reality

The market watchers have been buzzing about inflation a lot of late, and the noise seems to be picking up like a train rumbling towards the station. What it means is beyond me. I've never quite gotten the obsession with the big "catch all" concept of inflation.

Inflation has been here for years in some of the parts where it really counts, education, housing, and nights on the town. Its long been offset by Moore's "law" bring down the cost of computation and cheap Chinese labor bringing down the cost of anything that can be shipped over an ocean. This might add up to a mathematical wash in terms of "inflation", but that just hides the massive changes beneath the surface. The cost of living a life is going up fast, its been inflationary to the core for years. In strictly numerical terms its been offset by cheap gadgets and faster computers. But are they remotely equal in reality?

Are those extra megapixels on the digital camera really worth the $2,000 a year more in tuition? Is the ability to share and archive every photo on Flickr worth losing the ability to find a quality entree for under $10? The first strikes of inflation have long since hit us. Now the economists are warning us even the gadgets might start going up in price. What happens when we run out of distractions? And to take it back a step to the political-economic, it might be fun kicking Bush while he's stumbling down, but have we forgot that the worst thing about the man is that he is a position to take us all down with him?

Posted by Abe at October 15, 2005 04:18 PM