Re: [Stock Market] The Great Humiliator Strikes Again.
Tue, 14 Dec 1999 10:48:10 EST

In a message dated 12/14/1999 2:07:00 AM, writes:

>It's ironic
>that technology has created productivity efficiencies and, since nature
>abhors a vacuum, that extra free time is now spent figuring out ways to
>make money off the very technology that gives us the extra free time.

appropriate, actually.

Someone--I think this was in the Atlantic years ago, maybe in a book
later--wrote a critique of household labor-saving devices, such as vaccuum
cleaners wshing machines, etc. All these miraculous inventions of the 1920s
and 30s were going to liberate women from the mangle and drudgery of
housework, etc. etc.

What instead happened was that people liberated their servants. As Drucker
writes elsewhere (but it also appeared i the Atlantic) one of the major
workforce changes of this century has been the almost complete disappearance
of the domestic servant as an occupational class--it was a HUGE part of the
workforce 99 years ago. The new technologies of housework cut the labor
involved--so that people stopped hiring outside labor and did it
themsevles--rather, the housewife did it herself, while Dad read the paper.
What we DID do, however, is liberate millions of people to become clerks,
typists, telephone operators, nurses, teachers (and other "women's work").

So now a major productivity gain is freeing people from office drudgery. For
the nonce, they're spending their freed up time monitoring the market. But
the capitalist devil finds work for idle hands, and ere long these people
will find great things to do--starting up technology compnaies, perhaps--or
maybe setting up companies that provide household help for entreprneeurs who
are too busy even to run their dishwashers.