Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Wed Aug 16 13:59:41 PDT 2000

I'm reading a lot of stuff on the alleged productivity boom for the New Economy book, and the enthusiasts are saying that official price indexes are greatly understating the improvement in software quality (i.e., the price indexes should be falling faster than they are). The hardware price indexes are falling at a 20-30% annual rate, and it's argued that software indexes should be more like that, and less like the 2-5% annual average drop the official numbers report.

Since there are quite a few hardware and software experts on this list, I'm wondering what you all think. Is software quality improving vastly? And is the actual performance of computers - their output, whatever that is - really increasing at the kind of speed suggested by the price indexes (or, even more extravagantly, by Moore's law)? Or is a lot of the speed and power increase just taken up by bells and whistles?


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