The Internet is Improving Productivity More Than We Realize

Everybody knows economic productivity is the key to how fast an economy can grow, right? So the below image from the BLS shows a disturbing lack of productivity in the last 8 years:


Working in IT, that seems totally wrong, because the Internet has been a great productivity booster for more than the last decade. You can get questions answered on StackExchange, use or write open source software on GitHub, collaborate remotely using a ton of different collaboration tools (email, screensharing, group chat, etc.).

The standard productivity measure does not include all these new technologies and ways of working. So ...

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Housing Prices

Over the past few years, I've found that a suprising number of
people are interested in investing in real estate. Everybody sees
housing prices go up, up and up. But I just found a graph of housing prices in the US from 1890 to today, adjusted for inflation (hat tip to the Freakonomics Blog).
In summary, housing prices have stayed mostly constant over the long
term, once you adjust for inflation. I think people forget to adjust
for inflation, and then they think that they made a lot of money by
investing in real estate.

The most interesting thing ...

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