I overheard two of the staff in Maplin today complaining that they had had to change the price on some piece of consumer electronics twice in one day. We live in the noughties now so both changes were decreases.

A Chinese factory employee probably figured out some way to make ten of of whatever gadget it was in the time it used to take her to make six. Then, a few minutes after this productivity increase had rippled down the supply chain, her supervisor gave her a new widget stamper that could stamp out two widgets at a time instead of one. Two weeks later a British mobile phone shop employee could use the hypothetical value of his Barratt home on the edge of Brighton & Hove to secure, at a very reasonable Annual Percentage Rate, a loan that now enabled him to buy three-and-half pairs of MP3-playing sunglasses instead of two. By the time his house has been repossessed he’ll be able to buy ten pairs (that also play videos) for the same price—hypothetically.