At least for health care and education, the answer is the Baumol Effect. https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/helland-tabarrok_why-are-the-prices-so-damn-high_v2.pdf The TLDR of the Baumol Effect is that productivity in different industries rises at different rates, especially since ~1900. This means that the opportunity costs of less-improved industries’ products increase. As prices are signals of opportunity cost, they rise commensurately. The bulk of the book above (it’s only 90 pages, not a novel or anything) is an approachable but statistical overview and support for the thesis that Baumol is the primary driver of health care and education costs. Not all price increases are attributable to Baumol, but these are. I have two things I want to discuss then: implications for US health care policy, and extrapolation of a general concept of diverging efficiency gains. However I’m typing this on my phone with a cat trying to swat at the charging cord, so I’ll make my cases in subsequent posts.