Division of labor

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Duh,,,!!!! Would someone please explain to me EXACTLY what *division of labor* means. I sort of *got it*, until my neighbor asked me to explain it. It seems to be the corner stone of GN's articles and I guess I REALLY DON'T understand what he means. Thanks from me and the rest of the dummies.

got brains? I got lots of brain fog that I can spare for anyone who needs it.!!

-- Taz (tassie@aol.com), March 18, 1999


The best thing around on this subject is an essay entitled I , Pencil. Basically, DOL means that no one person can make a pencil. Everything has become specialized.

-- 45 (123@456.789), March 18, 1999.

Understanding the division of labor that exists in our society is one piece of the puzzle to understanding why multiple, simultaneous disruptions poses such a high risk.

For a pretty good introduction to the concept, see "I, Pencil" by Leonard Read at:

http://www.fee.org/about/ ipencil.html

-- Arnie Rimmer (arnie_rimmer@usa.net), March 18, 1999.

Make the following statement to illustrate what you (and GN) mean, "Without the division of labor, a pencil would be a miracle."

Now ask your neighbor to estimate how many people are involved in the manufacturing of, say, toilet paper. It seems to be a difficult mental exercise for most, but most people only know that when nature calls, they walk or run to the nearest water closet, sit down and have a bowl movement while reading the sports page or business section (wow, look at that stock market go! It seems most don't seem to understand that "markets" have many interdependencies), or penciling in a crossword puzzle. Having done that, they wipe themselves, flush the toilet, wash their hands with soap (we hope), dry them under a blower and go on about their daily lives, oblivious to interconnections/interdependancies/critical infrastructures that makes taking a dump such an enjoyable experience, for the most part, on a daily basis.

Have them think about all the people and jobs involved for them to have a comfortable, warm, secure place to open the bomb bay doors. Most don't give a passing thought to any of this.

I, on the other hand, think alot about Y2K when sitting on the porcelain throne, about how hard the S will HTF when the toilets stop flushing.

A strict dictionary definition really won't help them much in illustrating how dependant, the "division of labor" is on smooth running payment systems, and automated devices laced with embedded systems.

Oh, BTW, I will avoid any future desires to "cut and paste." Your admonishments where taken to heart.

-- MarktheFart (quke@ix.netcom.com), March 18, 1999.

Question which may apply here -

Ever hear of the phrase: "We are only as strong as our weakest link?"

-- Tim (pixmo@pixelquest.com), March 18, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ