RE: "The Fourth Turning" - A Must Read

Crosby_M (
Thu, 6 Mar 1997 12:51:24 -0500

Tom Morrow wrote:
<I'm thinking of picking up D. H. Fischer's most recent work, on price
inflation waves. His 1989 work, ALBION'S SEED, qualifies as a
must-read on early US (and later) history.>

I have not read Fischer's work on inflationary cycles. I do know that,
along with W. Erwin Diewert, Fischer is considered one of the masters
of price and index-number theory. His Fischer 'ideal' index for the
cost of living is one of two functional forms (the other being
Tornqvist's) known as 'superlative' indexes that effectively account
for substitutions in the types and qualities of goods, services and
technology when tracking some measure of their cost to society over

The Consumer and Producer Price Indexes produced by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics have no problem obtaining a good sample of costs for
goods and services, the operational difficulty is in real-time
tracking of the change in quantities sold over time.(*) As a
historical researcher, Fischer has the advantage of working at a lag
and analyzing changes in both price and quantity.

Mark Crosby

(*) Point-of-sale scanner data for consumer goods, as well as
electronic-data-transfer (EDT) info for manufacturer materials orders,
may eventually provide more of the quantitative data that would be
needed to produce superlative indexes; but for now, most of this data
remains proprietary.