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A Strong Indicator of Economic Well-Being

Summary:
For over a week, some neighbors of mine up the street put 3 nice-looking chairs in front of their house. It was their way of inviting passersby on a busy street to take the chairs. As I said, though, the chairs were there for over a week. I think they were finally picked up by the trash collector. This is a strong indicator of how well people are doing: you can’t even give away medium-quality chairs. I tried something similar a few months ago. I put out an old-style color TV in perfect working condition. After 3 days, and not wanting my neighbors to be upset at me, I moved the TV into my garage. I’ll soon call a specializing trash company and pay them to haul it away. Again, this is a strong indicator of general economic well-being. That reminds me of the first

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A Strong Indicator of Economic Well-Being

For over a week, some neighbors of mine up the street put 3 nice-looking chairs in front of their house. It was their way of inviting passersby on a busy street to take the chairs. As I said, though, the chairs were there for over a week. I think they were finally picked up by the trash collector.

This is a strong indicator of how well people are doing: you can’t even give away medium-quality chairs.

I tried something similar a few months ago. I put out an old-style color TV in perfect working condition. After 3 days, and not wanting my neighbors to be upset at me, I moved the TV into my garage. I’ll soon call a specializing trash company and pay them to haul it away. Again, this is a strong indicator of general economic well-being.

That reminds me of the first garage sale we had–in late 1990. Our stuff sold well and we made over $300 in about 3 hours.

Two years later, we thought we had enough good items to have another garage sale. This time, we collected under $150 in about 4 hours and finally gave up. My wife commented, “People must really be hurting financially.” I replied, “I think it’s the opposite.”

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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