[OPEL:6182] Re: Unproductive labor

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 10:11:16 -0500 (EST)

Paul C wrote on Wed, 11 Feb:

> Whilst the value of the individual commodity may fall as a result of
> automation, the labour of selling has not been subject to the same
> degree of automation. There has obviously been some degree of
> automation but productivity in sales has not grown to anything
> like the same extent as productivity on the factory floor.
> 1930s cash registers require only marginally more labour than
> current ones, indeed, tests in asia have shown that abaccuses
> are more labour efficient than modern cash registers.

I suspect that the studies on abaccuses vs. cash registers were made prior
to the advent of computerized cash registers with bar code systems.

Since the mid-1980's there has been a dramatic increase in office
automation and this has also affected the "productivity" of sales

Yet, there is also a counter-veiling tendency related to sales personnel
that often requires a (inherently labor-intensive) one-to-one interaction
between a sales person and a potential buyer in order to stimulate sales.

> The rise in productivity in advertising is probably also quite small.

I wouldn't be so sure about that. The advent of computer graphics has
reduced the labor requirements for producing graphic art used in
advertising. Many other aspects of advertising are computerized as well
(including, btw, many commercial sites on the WWW).

In any event, how would you measure "productivity" in advertising?

In solidarity, Jerry