Efficiency, a socialist problem


One of the reasons money came into existence, was due to efficiency, some would call it productivity, whatever the term, a person thinks up a better or easier way of doing something. This usually means more people can enjoy whatever has been produced, this if Socialism was based on reality would be a Socialist ideal, just the opposite it is a socialist problem.

Sharp CS 10a All transistor calculator
This was state of the art office equipment in 1964, an all transistorised calculator, pic courtesy Sharp corporation

Back in 1964, the Sharp Company of Japan produced the first all-electronic calculator. It was sold in USA for around $268, or about three weeks wages, for the average US citizen. Not that the average person could afford $268 for a luxury item like a calculator. However many companies could, and the Sharp CS 10A was a roaring success, it made calculating long lists of numbers so much easier, also it could work out percentages. It paved the way for others to copy. Calculators had been around for centuries, but not in electronic form, and they now started to be a commonplace piece of kit.

a slide rule

In 1964, the human brain aside, probably the most common general purpose calculator, was a slide rule. The Far East used the Abacus quite a lot, but that is less general purpose. Also a common item in the work place was a book of percentages, for working out the interest on various items. A slide rule is very good, however it is not fast, where it scored was on things like long division, or where methods requiring calculus were involved.

Originally mechanical, then electro-mechanical and finally all electronic calculators, made life so much easier and efficient. Sharp were the first to the market place. From then on there was a steady stream of developments and improvements. Here is a good example of where Socialism and its ideas fall flat, they are just fantasy. In the Socialist world there is central planning, this does a way with inefficient duplications and wastage. Well that is the idea, however it is a load of old garbage, that just leads to corruption.

In the free trade model, individuals use their own money, and waste it as they wish. This leads to some person being sat in an office using a Sharp calculator and thinking, well that latest piece of electronics printed circuit I read about, could do everything that is needed here, and they are sure they could sell it at under $200 and still make a fabulous profit. So they do, and also because it is there own money they have invested, they look at ways of reducing overheads. This is efficiency at work, and an example why efficiency, a socialist problem.

Typical desktop office calculator
A modern day calculator, you can buy them in £ or $ shops, a far cry from 1964, and they actually do more.

So pretty Polly Perkins, sets up her factory producing calculators, and selling them at less than $200 each. Initially she just employs three people, basically buying in the parts and assembling the machines, but business being brisk, she has to hire more staff.

electronics called a microchip

In the mean time, there has been some developments in the world of electronics, and some company called Intel has produced a new piece of electronics called a microchip. This is cheaper and does away with lots of the components. Over in USSR where they have everything passed by central planning, to reduce wastage, no one in that department has even a passing interest in desk calculators, so they are not even being developed.

In the meantime Polly Perkins has noticed that she can make an improved toaster using, some of the electronic bits, she buys. This is good because $200 for a calculators in now expensive, and although she has reduced the production costs, she finds she can make more money selling ten times the number of toasters, that lots of people can afford for their homes?

So Billy Brainstorm, elsewhere in the world, decides he can make a calculator for less than $50, and it is so small due to a new chip from Texas Instruments, that you can fit it in your briefcase. Other companies making calculators go out of business, making people redundant, but due to the fact they now have experience in making electrical items, some are taken on at a local factory making alarms systems, which are becoming more common, due to being affordable. They are more affordable because, of the new electronic chips, and the fact that things like calculators in offices means there are less staff needed to run a company.

Another example of why efficiency, is a socialist problem. Why when less people are needed to produce things, is employment going up.

Back with Polly Perkins, she has sold her factory, and could if she wished retire, but that would be boring, plus she always liked the side of business where she wrote the adverts to sell her products. So she gets a job at the local ad agency, as a personal assistant, and before long she has left and started her own company, specialising in making catalogues for distribution companies, and she does this efficiently enough, to take them within reach of small, local outfits.

calculators are now below $20

The efficiency has come from these new micro computers, which are now less than $2,000 for a good office machine. Meanwhile the calculators are now below $20, and they have a memory function.
A further efficiency causing a further socialist problem, how come when manufacturing is in decline, does employment keep going up, and people keep getting paid more?

Simple, when the Luddites in the 18th Century were breaking up the weaving machines, they had no concept, that in the future people would be employed to drive a vehicle to help someone whose car had broken down? How could they?

RAC breakdown assistance
RAC do breakdown cover in UK
Pic courtesy RAC

Efficiency is a socialist problem, because they object to people being made redundant. They then make erroneous comparisons, like the fact that a warehouse has been built on an old coal mining pit, and that the people there are not paid the same as the coal miners were.

Luddite socialists

That a person working at these warehouses, on minimum wage, drive to their place of work, has a disposable income far in excess of a 1980s miner, is lost on these Luddite socialists, and also has nothing to do with trained workers. The equivalent worker in 2017 to a miner in the 1980s, doesn’t expose themselves to the dangers back then. They work in an office, are required to use their imagination, and have a disposable income, that allows holidays in exotic world wide locations.

All because of efficiency, and the ease with which people today in UK can be made redundant.

Author: John Ashtone

John Ashtone, aspiring author, on Politics, Economics and History, with a few dashes of humour thrown in for good measure. I currently live in Wakefield, just south of my Home City of Leeds, both are in West Yorkshire, England.

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