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  #41  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2010, 5:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qubert View Post
Real incomes have been plummeting since the 1970s.
Please cite or retract this.

Per Capita Income, 2008 Dollars, per U.S. Census Bureau:

2008 $26,964
2006 $28,141 (peak)
2000 $27,939
1990 $22,976
1980 $19,373
1970 $15,721
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  #42  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2010, 7:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Paradox21 View Post
My biggest personal problem with the over-abundant development of retail is the fact that the rapid geographic dispersal of amenities has often led to an acceleration of sprawl--which of course can lead to lot of negative health, cultural, and environmental effects.

. . . . .

Also, I'm not too fond of the fact that free-market capitalism has allowed big box retailers to rapidly devour local institutions at the expense of regional heritage and a more diversified shopping experience, but obviously big box retailers do fulfill a need for many people (including myself) and I suppose there is a price to pay for "lower prices."
Does retail accelerate sprawl on its own, or do consumer preferences toward shiny new shopping centers form the real impetus? Clearly retail is a huge component of suburbanization and decentralizing growth, but as high of an opinion as most developers might have of themselves, few have demonstrated the ability to create demand. They gauge where it already exists and work with it.

Big boxes might be a blight to the landscape by many people's perceptions, but like you said, they fulfill a need for many people. Clearly we as consumers are at least in part to blame for killing off main streets, since those big boxes would never have proliferated if we didn't shop there en masse.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2010, 8:23 PM
miketoronto miketoronto is offline
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I read it a while ago, however we are actually worse off today than people 30-40years ago.

30-40 years ago a family could get by with one income, and have a house, car, go on a vacation once in a while, etc.

Today a family is very lucky if they can get by with one income. We need to have two income households to cover the expenses that 30 years ago were covered by one income. And not all of it has to do with house size, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
Please cite or retract this.

Per Capita Income, 2008 Dollars, per U.S. Census Bureau:

2008 $26,964
2006 $28,141 (peak)
2000 $27,939
1990 $22,976
1980 $19,373
1970 $15,721
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  #44  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2010, 9:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
I read it a while ago, however we are actually worse off today than people 30-40years ago.

30-40 years ago a family could get by with one income, and have a house, car, go on a vacation once in a while, etc.

Today a family is very lucky if they can get by with one income. We need to have two income households to cover the expenses that 30 years ago were covered by one income. And not all of it has to do with house size, etc.
I think most people here are going to need some stats in addition to "I read it a while ago".

There is no measure where we are worse off than 30-40 years ago, EXCEPT with regard to distribution of income (which I can almost guarantee is what you read and what Qubert was talking about - a smaller share of the pie does go to the lower classes than was the case 30-40 years ago). However, even with that, the lower classes are still much better off today than 30-40 years ago, it's just that their standard of living has not increased as much as those higher up the ladder. There are a few other things that might be lower today than 30-40 years ago in real terms (minimum wage, etc), but those measures affect very few people.

Last edited by Gordo; Jun 14, 2010 at 9:27 PM.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2010, 9:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
I read it a while ago, however we are actually worse off today than people 30-40years ago.

30-40 years ago a family could get by with one income, and have a house, car, go on a vacation once in a while, etc.

Today a family is very lucky if they can get by with one income. We need to have two income households to cover the expenses that 30 years ago were covered by one income. And not all of it has to do with house size, etc.
If your phone and TV used 1970s technology, your car conformed to 1970s safety standards, your vacations were mostly road trips, and you were generally not likely to go to college, then I suspect your outlook on how much money is necessary to "get by" would be quite different.

Perhaps it's simply that median income, while increasing significantly since the 1970s, hasn't increased at the same rate as our median expected standard of living, and for many years we bridged that gap with ever-increasing debt loads, and the bill has finally come due? That would still represent a major sociological issue to confront; but it also means it's nonetheless objectively false to say that on average people have actually gotten poorer since the 1970s.
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  #46  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2010, 10:18 PM
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In this discussion it is probably better to focus on median household income...which is probably the point the two earlier posters were speaking of when they commented we are worse of.

from 1975

Year No. of Households Real $ Inflation Adjusted $
2009* 117,500,000 $48,500 $48,500
2008 117,181,000 $50,303 $50,303
2007 116,783,000 $50,233 $52,163
2006 116,011,000 $48,201 $51,473
2005 114,384,000 $46,326 $51,093
2004 113,343,000 $44,334 $50,535
2003 112,000,000 $43,318 $50,711
2002 111,278,000 $42,409 $50,756
2001 109,297,000 $42,228 $51,356
2000 108,209,000 $41,990 $52,500
1999 106,434,000 $40,696 $52,587
1998 103,874,000 $38,885 $51,295
1997 102,528,000 $37,005 $49,497
1996 101,018,000 $35,492 $48,499
1995 99,627,000 $34,076 $47,803
1994 98,990,000 $32,264 $46,351
1993 97,107,000 $31,241 $45,839
1992 96,426,000 $30,636 $46,063
1991 95,669,000 $30,126 $46,445
1990 94,312,000 $29,943 $47,818
1989 93,347,000 $28,906 $48,463
1988 92,830,000 $27,225 $47,614
1987 91,124,000 $26,061 $47,251
1986 89,479,000 $24,897 $46,665
1985 88,458,000 $23,618 $45,069
1984 86,789,000 $22,415 $44,242
1983 85,407,000 $20,885 $42,910
1982 83,918,000 $20,171 $43,212
1981 83,527,000 $19,074 $43,328
1980 82,368,000 $17,710 $44,059
1979 80,776,000 $16,461 $45,498
1978 77,330,000 $15,064 $45,625
1977 76,030,000 $13,572 $43,925
1976 74,142,000 $12,686 $43,649
1975 72,867,000 $11,800 $42,936


So yes median household income has increased since 1975.....however when you factor in that in 1975 there was much more single income households, and people drove far less to work / home / shopping etc; it may not be that far off to say we were better off back then at least at the level of perceived economic stress
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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2010, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
Please cite or retract this.

Per Capita Income, 2008 Dollars, per U.S. Census Bureau:

2008 $26,964
2006 $28,141 (peak)
2000 $27,939
1990 $22,976
1980 $19,373
1970 $15,721
There are so many ways to count income.

For example, is yours median or average?

Also, you can count per capita or count by household. If you're counting by household, since households have gotten dramatically smaller, the line you're showing would be a lot flatter.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2010, 12:52 AM
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We are suppose to be more well off today, yet we can't afford made in our own country products, and we all need to shop at discount stores like Walmart instead of the nice stores our parents used to shop in, in the 70's.

I think we are a tad worse off today. My dad for example had a normal middle class income. So we were not rich.

Yet my parents bought a house, and raised four kids on one income. And the thing I find so cool is they were able to pay off their house within 10 years.

Try paying off a house in 10 years in this day and age, on a one income middle class income.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2010, 2:47 AM
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It would be interesting to see if American stores could have made more profit if they did not have so many locations of the same store.

For example, there is a department store in Berlin. They only have one location and that is in the centre of the city, and the store has been going strong since the early 1900s.
Over 65,000 people shop in that store everyday.
From buying items to eating in the famous food halls, they capture a huge amount of people.

What store in the USA gets 65,000 people a day through their doors anymore in one day?
Would that store in Berlin for example be making as good money if they had 5 other branch stores and all those 65,000 were split across the other stores?

You see this in a number of other world cities, where stores only have one store, or maybe two at most in one city.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2010, 3:03 AM
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I don't mind lots of retail square footage. I think that in itself is good. What I despise is the throwaway buildings that are built only to suit a certain kind of store that occupies it that is built so much today. I hate seeing pictures of empty Wal-Marts in the United States and reading that Wal-Mart refuses to let a competitor take the building over, so it remains empty. We haven't had much problem with that in Canada yet, but it could happen eventually.

To build a huge one story building surrounded by surface parking is bad enough. To have a chain abandon that building so they can replace it with a new one nearby while that building just goes to waste is criminal.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2010, 4:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawfin View Post
So yes median household income has increased since 1975.....however when you factor in that in 1975 there was much more single income households, and people drove far less to work / home / shopping etc; it may not be that far off to say we were better off back then at least at the level of perceived economic stress
This guy didn't say "economic stress has increased since 1975" which is actually a statement I'd agree with per one of my follow-up posts (i.e. we've used debt to bridge the gap between our median incomes and our perception of what a median lifestyle/standard-of-living should be) --- no, he said incomes have "plummeted since the 1970s". It's objectively a false statement no matter how one defines "income," be it on a median household or a per capita basis, or by applying any reasonable measure of inflation (and this is not even getting into the fact that one could make a strong argument that using CPI understates the utility afforded by income growth, because of it's inherently poor handling of the substitution effect).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays
There are so many ways to count income.

For example, is yours median or average?

Also, you can count per capita or count by household. If you're counting by household, since households have gotten dramatically smaller, the line you're showing would be a lot flatter.
The reason I didn't cite median household income is specifically because of its codependence with household sizes, which have shrunk. With declining household sizes, median household income growth would generally understate the increase in earnings on a per worker basis, but the adjustments to make a 1975-2008 comparison meaningful are many and debatable.
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  #52  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2010, 8:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VivaLFuego View Post
Please cite or retract this.

Per Capita Income, 2008 Dollars, per U.S. Census Bureau:

2008 $26,964
2006 $28,141 (peak)
2000 $27,939
1990 $22,976
1980 $19,373
1970 $15,721
What about after you add in inflation? Anyway, I'll delete that particular line, but my point about debt still stands.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2010, 2:02 PM
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On the point of people "needing" $8/hr jobs, and "needing" a plethora of retail options... I say that's a definite FAIL. We don't need all of this crap... we need to be investing in our country's future. There are plenty of job growers out there that will propel us for decades that have nothing to do with retail. Like, oh, I don't know-- cleaning up the GULF, moving away from foreign energy sources, increased progress in healthcare. We don't need all of these miniscule busy jobs. We need to grow a pair and get out of this piddly consumer-driven economy.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2010, 2:18 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanactivistTX View Post
On the point of people "needing" $8/hr jobs, and "needing" a plethora of retail options... I say that's a definite FAIL. We don't need all of this crap... we need to be investing in our country's future. There are plenty of job growers out there that will propel us for decades that have nothing to do with retail. Like, oh, I don't know-- cleaning up the GULF, moving away from foreign energy sources, increased progress in healthcare. We don't need all of these miniscule busy jobs. We need to grow a pair and get out of this piddly consumer-driven economy.
And years ago a family would set up a retail shop and have a good living.
Not today with all these chains and $8.00 an hour jobs.

People lived just fine before, without all this chain store crap, and they were able to afford things.

We really have lost out a lot by letting corporate America take over.

My parents lived in NYC before the overtaking of America by chains, and it is interesting to hear their stories of how they shopped. If you wanted low cost items, there were tons of stores for that. They would either go to I think it was 8th Ave in Brooklyn or down to jewish area of Lower Manhattan. And you could visit more than one discount store and work out a better price at one of them.

Try doing that today in these big box stores. Does not work that way.
The consumers are the losers in this, because they just trust these corporations to give them the best price, etc. When in fact they may not be.

Toronto's Honest Ed had the right idea. People were asking him to make his Honest Ed's discount department store into a chain and open branch locations. And he said "no". If you want to shop at his store than you will have to come downtown and shop at the one and only Honest Ed's. He said opening branches cheapens the store and reduces the quality of it.
He knew what he was talking about.
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  #55  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2010, 2:12 AM
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People's insistence on finding the cheapest everything is a big part of the problem. It's the biggest driver of offshoring, it's a big part of why chains make money, and it's a big part of why mom & pops often have a tough time.

Personally I'm fine paying more to shop at places worth supporting. (Made easier by the fact I don't buy too much stuff.)
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  #56  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Ahh dude, most of the stores have been full going up. So why are you complaining? There's more than enough business. The population is really only declining in Detroit...which doesn’t have ANY big retail stores.
Correction, the population of Michigan has dropped by a large amount.

The article below gives a number of 465,000 fewer people since 2001. That is a 4.5% population decrease over an 8 year period (article written in 2009).

http://detnews.com/article/20090402/...staggers-state
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  #57  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2010, 1:33 PM
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Metropolitan Detroit and in particular the areas these malls are being built in, has not grown much since the 1960's. Metro Detroit's population will go up 100,000 one decade, than go down the next, than up the next, etc. So it basically is a stable population with very very tiny growth if at all. Not enough growth to justify all these new retail ventures.
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  #58  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2010, 1:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
People's insistence on finding the cheapest everything is a big part of the problem. It's the biggest driver of offshoring, it's a big part of why chains make money, and it's a big part of why mom & pops often have a tough time.

Personally I'm fine paying more to shop at places worth supporting. (Made easier by the fact I don't buy too much stuff.)
But that is the think. 30 years ago, people still got items at a low cost. In fact it might have been even better prices, because you could barter among a number of stores.

The idea that big box shopping has brought in cheap prices is false.
Before we killed off our downtown shopping districts, each city used to have a discount shopping area with a ton of discount stores, etc. And each neighbourhood usually had a discount department store, etc.

So the idea that we have more selection and cheaper prices now I don't think it is true.
We just more of the exact same store every 5 blocks. But not more slection of better prices.

When you get down to it, Walmart is just nasty version of Woolworths. It is not like Walmart is this whole different idea of shopping. But where Woolworths worked with the stores around them and did not try to kill them off, Walmart is trying to do kill everything off.
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  #59  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2010, 2:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
Metropolitan Detroit and in particular the areas these malls are being built in, has not grown much since the 1960's. Metro Detroit's population will go up 100,000 one decade, than go down the next, than up the next, etc. So it basically is a stable population with very very tiny growth if at all. Not enough growth to justify all these new retail ventures.
There's been PLENTY of growth to justify retail expansion though. It's called increased personal DEBT, and it's an ever-perpetuating cycle (I of course speak as one within this system as well). The more crap stores that we see around us, the more of that stuff we want to buy. I'll be the first to admit it... I love IKEA and I shop there for most of my furniture. It's cheap, multi-functional, good quality, and unlike many items I'm going to find at mom and pop stores. It would be nice to support more local groups, but I'm hooked in to IKEA's "brand".
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  #60  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2010, 2:17 PM
miketoronto miketoronto is offline
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Originally Posted by urbanactivistTX View Post
There's been PLENTY of growth to justify retail expansion though. It's called increased personal DEBT, and it's an ever-perpetuating cycle (I of course speak as one within this system as well). The more crap stores that we see around us, the more of that stuff we want to buy. I'll be the first to admit it... I love IKEA and I shop there for most of my furniture. It's cheap, multi-functional, good quality, and unlike many items I'm going to find at mom and pop stores. It would be nice to support more local groups, but I'm hooked in to IKEA's "brand".
IKEA is a store you go to what like every 5 years. You don't buy furniture every year. I can't remember the last time I was in IKEA, as I went there to buy a shelf and have had no need to buy any furniture.

However I do want new shelfs, and I will be going to a mom & pop store downtown for them. I was walking around downtown a couple weeks ago and found this store that makes pure hardwood shelves. And they were much more sturdy than the IKEA shelves I have, and they were only like $30 bucks more than the poorly built IKEA ones.
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