The press is reporting record prices for beef. According to a June 18 story in the New York Post,
“It’s a barbecue‐season bummer! Meat, poultry and fish prices have spiked an average of 8 percent since last year — soaring to an all‐time high, national data show. The cost of ground beef has gone up 11 percent… ‘Everything is going through the roof,’ said Jim Hopkins, 52, a supervisor at Associated Supermarket in the West Village, who has worked in the grocery business for 30 years. ‘I’ve never seen increases like this — where they jump as much as this.’”
Yet the World Bank data shows remarkable stability in the inflation‐adjusted price of ground beef over the last half century. That is all the more remarkable considering that:
- There were 3 billion people in the world in 1960. Today there are 7 billion of us.
- In 1960, the average income per person was $3,000 (in inflation adjusted 2000 dollars). Today it is $7,500.
- More people earning more money = higher demand for meat, especially beef.
- Yet, beef prices are, roughly where they were in 1960.
So, cheer up and don’t let those pessimists spoil your barbecue‐season.