Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Tale of Two Times

Record sales* in the USA:
1927 = circa 104 million
1932 = 6 million
94% drop in five years, or near total collapse.

Population of USA in 1930 = circa 123 million (56% urban) 
Population of the USA in 2010 = circa 310 million (81% urban)

Great Depression: Unemployment Peak, 1932 = circa 23.6% (one in four people and change)
Great Recession: Unemployment Peak, 2010 = circa 10%
(one in ten people)

“During late 2008 and early 2009, Facebook doubled in size, growing from 100 million registered users to 200 million in eight months, and topped the 400 million mark in early 2010 . . .  Twitter’s popularity also skyrocked during 2009, jumping from 4.5 million visitors to more than 20 million.”**

1930 Prices:
Record (single, two sides) $0.75
Gas/petrol  $0.10/gallon
Bread $0.09/loaf
Rent $15.00/month

2010 Prices:
Download (single track) $0.99
Gas/petrol  $2.73/gallon
Bread $2.49/loaf
Rent $780.00/month

Whereas record sales collapsed early during The Great Depression, social media soared during The Great Recession. Why the difference?  Probably cost and ease -- given internet access at home or via a public library or workplace, social media in 2010 essentially costs nothing to utilize.  In 1930, one could buy a record, eight loaves of bread or seven and one-half gallons of gasoline for the same chunk of change.  Plus, social media can supplement or even replace telephonic communication.

*Citing Ronald Foreman's 1968 doctoral dissertation: Daphne Duval Harrison, Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920s (Rutgers, 1988), p. 61.

**Deanna Zandt, “Social Media: Peril + Promise” In These Times (Vol. 34, No. 8) August 2010, pages 28-29.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough.  


Charles Gramlich said...

humans are social animals and the social media feed into that.

the walking man said...

$1.00 in 1930 had the same buying power as $12.56 in 2010.

Annual inflation over this period was 3.21%.


Lana Gramlich said...

Interesting, for sure.