Dennis R Redmond dredmond at
Wed Aug 16 23:25:48 PDT 2000

On Wed, 16 Aug 2000, Doug Henwood wrote:

> 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)?

Don't know about other applications, but I find it interesting that in the one little niche of computer-dom I keep track of, namely video games, ever-evolving tech hasn't reduced the labor-time involved in creating games. It still takes 1-2 years or more to create an entire PC game, just like in the early 1980s with the Apple II+; the difference is, one or two coders used to do the job, now you need specialized folks to do the sounds, voices, models, skins, etc. My own suspicion is that The Great E-Productivity Fetish is just that -- a species of informatic empiricism, which privileges a narrow array of forces of production over and above the much more interesting story of the globalization of the relations of production. All this computer tech is based on a vast, huge labor effort elsewhere on the planet: Chinese electrical workers, Taiwanese mobo designers, Cali coders, etc. Where you are likely to see 20% productivity increases are in the Chinese hinterland, where labor-intensive assembly lines are suddenly decked out with the latest electronics.

-- Dennis

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