I heard this story on NPR today. A new show my local NPR station called the TED Radio Hour. It is an interview and abridgment of a speech given by author Matt Ridley (video below). I transcribed one part of the interview that was particularly sharp and one of the more important points I wish critics of free markets would get their heads around.
Can you explain why you measure prosperity in terms of time?
Yes, this was an insight that's occurred to a lot of people in the economics profession before. This is what economic prosperity, what economic growth is. It's a reduction in the amount of time it takes to fulfill a need. That's how we fit so much consumption in our lives; [it] is by reducing the amount of time it takes to earn it. So I think in the end the real measure of how well off you are is how long you have to work to fulfill a need, or indeed a luxury, and the difference between a need a luxury is often blurred.
Technological advances benefit everyone in the long run. Looks like there's another book I'll be picking up.