Technically speaking, the first “cordless” drill was called a bit and brace drill invented hundreds of years ago. You can still buy one of these classics at Amazon for around $57.
Black and Decker introduced the first battery-powered cordless drills in 1961. “It was a great advance,” Mr. Decker said, “but people weren't prepared to pay $100 for it.” Blue-collar hourly compensation (wages and benefits) in 1961 was $2.60 an hour. This would suggest a time price of around 38.46 hours. No wonder it wasn’t too popular.
Black and Decker’s cordless drill made history in 1971 when NASA’s Apollo 15 mission used one to extract core samples on the moon.
Today you can pick up a Black and Decker cordless drill at Home Depot or Amazon for $29.99. Since 1961, blue-collar hourly compensation has increased to $33.39, so the time price for today’s cordless drill is 0.9 hours or 54 minutes. In 61 years the time price has decreased by 97.7 percent from 2,308 minutes down to 54 minutes.
For the time require to earn the money to buy one cordless drill in 1961, you get 42.8 today. Drill abundance has been increasing at a compound annual rate of around 6.35 percent a year.
You can learn more about these economic facts and ideas in our forthcoming book, Superabundance, available for pre-order at Amazon. George Gilder calls it a “supremely contrarian book” which overturns “the tables in the temple of conventional thinking” by deploying “rigorous and original data and analysis to proclaim a gospel of abundance. Economics—and ultimately, politics—will be enduringly transformed.”
Gale Pooley is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and a board member at Human Progress.
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