Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Money Through Time

This is the sort of thing that someone like me can spend far too much time fooling around with, a calculator which will convert purchasing power through time. Enter an amount in US dollars and an initial year (as far back as 1774), then select a target year to convert the currency into.

So, for instance, a 1909 Model T Ford cost $850. Convert that to 2009 currency and you get $20,700.

In 1933, the first national minimum wage law set the minimum wage at $0.25/hr. In 2009 dollars, that would be $4.14.

In 1867, Alaska Territory was purchased from Russia for $7.2 million. In 2009 dollars, that would be $108 million.

If that seems fun, turn yourself loose on this website: The Current Value of Old Money


Anonymous said...


Enbrethiliel said...


The Philippines was purchased for $10 million in 1898.

That's $267 million in 2009 values.

I know that the US government spent $150 million to develop Corregidor into a hangar for its navy. I'd need to know which amounts were spent in which years, of course, but I'm going to be sloppy and enter only one year: 1945. After the war ended, some US military officials made a thorough inspection of Corregidor and concluded that it no longer had anything of value to the US government.

That's $1.79 billion "down the drain."

Art Deco said...

IIRC, industrial workers who had managed to stay employed were earning about $0.50/hr at the time on average. Which is to suggest that, if they managed to successfully enforce that minimum wage, they would have set a price floor likely exceeding the productivity of a quarter of the labor force. It does suggest an explanation for an anomaly: the economy grew very rapidly from the spring of 1933 to the beginning of 1937 and from the middle of 1938 to the end of 1941. By 1941, per capita income exceeded that of 1929 by about 15%. However, the private-sector unemployment rate declined verrrry slooowly.