Subject: User Views
From: webb@TSAVO.HKS.COM (Peter Webb)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993 15:34:29 -0500

> lower productivity in computers (no productivity gains since the 
> introduction of the IBM PC in '81)
> marty

What exactly do you mean by this statement?  That computers haven't made
people (and therefore industry as a whole) more productive?  Interestingly
enough, US industry is just now beginning to show computer-related
productivity gains.  There was an article in the Wall St. Journal (I know,
mouth-piece of the conservative capitalists, but their stories are sometimes
fascinating) early this week that explained how the gains were realized.
Productivity is a ratio of product/producers - the more product per producer,
the more productive the producer.  Computerization of phone answering systems,
bill-of-material generation and other people-intensive segments of industry
has allowed companies to reduce the number of workers they employ without 
reducing output.  The remaining people are therefore technically more 
productive.  I realize this is somewhat of a weak argument, and that it does
not address the question of whether putting a computer on a person's desk
makes them any more productive.  However, the gains for industry as a whole
are very real and represent actual dollars that can be re-invested in R&D or
used to finance the CEO's retirement, depending on the company in question.

Peter Webb