[OPE-L:3271] Forms of technical change

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 4 Oct 1996 12:46:16 -0700 (PDT)

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John wrote in [OPE-L:3269]:

> <snip> However, there is scant evidence on the micro
> level in the period of large scale industry. <snip>

If you want examples of branches of production where labor-saving forms of
technical change are common, here are some:

I. Manufacturing

o auto assembly: it can readily be observed in recent decades that
following technical change, the output level/plant doesn't increase
(this can be observed by the relatively stable line speed), however,
there are fewer workers required/plant to produce the same output.
Examples of specific technologies available on request.

o chemical industry and process industries in general, including
plastics, steel, cement, and gas.

o paper products and the woodworking industry.

o plastics and rubber processing.

o metals manufacture.

o metal fabrication.

o textiles, including leather processing, show manufacture, and

o electrical and electronic products.

o clay and cement products.

o asbestos processing.

o glass industry.

o iron and steel manufacture.

o electrical engineering.

o shipbuilding.

o bituminous coal mining.

o newspaper typesetting.

II. Service Industries

o banking and commerce; recent technical changes include ATMs,
magnetic-ink character recognition, automatic check depositing,
automatic fund transfers. The savings here is in terms of laborers
required to produce a given amount of services.

o reail sales. Process innovations included electronic cash registers,
bar codes (UPC), materials handling equipment, etc..

o transportation: technical changes such as automation in container
ships, electronic reservation and billing systems, etc.

o distribution: automatic warehousing and storage, recod keeping and
scheduling, etc.

o health care and medicine: medical data collection, advances in
clinical laboratory techniques, computers monitoring critically ill
patients, computer tomography, automated delivery systems, etc.

o libraries: computer cataloging and searching (e.g. LEXIS).

o hotels: reservation and billing systems.

o postal industry.

o meter readers: electronic meter reading and remote control from a

etc., etc., etc....

In Solidarity,