May 9, 2018


The Grocery Store as an Indicator of American Progress (Steven Horwitz, 5/08/18, Econ Lib)

The grocery store is in many ways a metaphor for the increase in American living standards experienced by both rich and poor. Those of us who remember the 1970s have perhaps the best sense of this evolution, as we can remember what even good grocery stores were like back then. Stores were generally small, not well lit, not always clean, limited in the variety of goods they stocked (especially fresh produce), and lacking in the prepared foods we take for granted at most grocery stores today.3

The 21st century American grocery store, by contrast, is a marvel of higher quality, lower cost, and expanded variety. There is simply no comparison between the quality of the produce, meats, and bread available at even a large middle-market chain like Kroger today and what was available anywhere in the 1970s. Measured in terms of labor hours required for purchase, food has generally never been cheaper. We see that today, as poverty in America is far more likely to be associated with obesity than with being underweight.

Posted by at May 9, 2018 4:31 AM