Business Category Explained:

Business can be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Efficient business, on the other hand, garners riches and power to ourselves.

No enterprise that is private. No market is free. No successful entrepreneur is self-made.

I have chosen articles for this section from writers who agree with me, such as:

“Market efficiency has been achieved by drawing upon nature’s reserves as if they were limitless, as if people did not have to be sparing with both inner and outer nature.”

Chandler, Alfred Dupont.  The Visible Hand
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977
ISBN 0674940512
Page 14

Little institutional innovation occurred in American business before the 1840s. Why was this so? As long as the processes of production and distribution depended on the traditional sources of energy—on man, animal, wind power— there was little pressure to innovate. Such sources of energy simply could not generate a volume of output in production and number of transactions in distribution large enough to require the creation of a large managerial enterprise or to call for the development of new business forms and practices. The low speed of production of the slow movement of goods through the economy meant that the maximum daily activity at each point of production and distribution could be easily handled by small personally owned and managed enterprises.

Grant, Neil. The Industrial Revolution
United States of America: 1973
ISBN 0531008088
Page 64

The astonishing expansion of U.S. manufacturing after the Civil War can most briefly be indicated by a few more figures. In 1850 capital invested in manufacturing totaled $533 million; in 1880 it totaled $2,790 million. In the same thirty years, the total value of products increased from $1,019 million to $5,370 million; the number of wage earners from less than one million to 2.7 million. By 1913 the United States accounted for 35.8 percent of the world total of manufacturing production. Germany, its nearest rival, had 15.7 percent; Britain (including Ireland), third largest, had 14 percent.

Slater, Robert,  Leadership -- Get Better Or Get Beaten
U.S.A.: 1994. ISBN 078630256
Page 99

There is something about speed that transcends its obvious business benefits of greater cash flows, greater profitability, higher share due to greater customer responsiveness and more capacity from cycle time reductions.

Speed exhilarates and energizes ... This is particularly true in business, where speed tends to propel ideas and drive processes right through functional barriers, sweeping bureaucrats and their impediments aside in the rush to get to the marketplace.

Miller, Fred J. “Prevention of Wastes in Industry.”
Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 43 (1921):
1097-1103. Page 1097, cited in Knoedler,
Janet T., “Veblen and technical efficiency.” Journal of Economic Issues, Dec97,
Vol. 31 Issue 4, p1013, 16p

Those who would be supposed to have the greatest incentive for the prevention of industrial wastes are found to be responsible for the major portion of the wastes that occur.... they, the owners and directors of industries, are the ones and the only ones, who can adopt effective means to stop these wastes.

Elmar Altvater, The Future of the Market
New York: Verso 1993.
ISBN 0860914259
Page 183

Market efficiency has been achieved by drawing upon nature’s reserves as if they were limitless, as if people did not have to be sparing with both inner and outer nature. A ‘positive feedback mechanism’ may thus be set up between the economic system and nature. Interest-rate signals force the production of a surplus through the overexploitation of natural resources.

The degraded natural basis of production and consumption then makes it more difficult to achieve profits commensurate with the rate of interest.

The debt crisis has negative ecological effects, while the degradation of nature intensifies the debt crisis.

If tight management of flows then leads to a reduction in stock levels, the traditional models break down and the transition to ‘positive feedback economics’ becomes unavoidable.

Wheelwright, Steven. C.  Revolutionizing Product Development
New York: 1992. ISBN 0029055156
Pages 4 and 5

Rigorous international competition, the explosion of market segments and niches, and accelerating technological change have created a set of competitive imperatives for the development of new products and processes in industries as diverse as medical instruments and automobiles, textiles, and high-end disk drives. Exhibit 1-1 identifies three of these imperatives -- speed, efficiency, and quality – and suggest some of their implications. To succeed, firms must be responsive to changing customer demands and the moves of their competitors.

More, more, more, store, store, store
By Clayton Collins | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Daniel Chisca knew he had witnessed a bargain one day last year when he saw $400 land an Atlanta man a Hewlett-Packard, Pentium 4 computer with flat-screen monitor - along with a desk, two big color televisions, and $2,000 worth of scuba equipment.

Mr. Chisca is neither a law-enforcement official nor a black marketeer.

He runs storageauctions.org, a website on which the managers of self-storage facilities - those sprawling road-side complexes into which Americans can cram possessions for a few months or much longer - can announce sales of the contents of units on which rent has gone unpaid.

Brian Tokar,  Earth for Sale
Boston: South End Press, 1997
ISBN 0896085589
Page 195

“Market efficiency has been achieved by drawing upon nature’s reserves as if they were limitless,” Altvater argues, explaining that:

A “positive feedback mechanism” may thus be set up between the economic system and nature. Interest-rate signals force the production of a surplus through the overexploitation of natural resources. The degraded natural basis of production and consumption then makes it more difficult to achieve profits commensurate with the rate of interest. The debt crisis has negative ecological effects, while the degradation of nature intensifies the debt crisis.

Katherine Barkley and Steve Weissman, “The Eco-Establishment,”
Ramparts magazine, May 1970, vol. 8, no. 7
 50, 54

Like the original conservation movement it is emulating, today’s big business conservation is not interested in preserving the earth; it is rationally reorganizing for a more efficient rape of resources ... and the production of an ever grosser national product.

 

Welsh, Jack, General Electric’s CEO quoted in Janet Lowe’s Jack Welsh Speaks
Wiley New York, 1998 ISBN 0471242721

Page 108

“Productivity is the belief that there is an infinite capacity to improve anything.”

You Need to Get to Work!  By Daniel McGinn
Newsweek March 19, 2007 issue –

…In offices across America, we seem to be at a moment of get-organized-now hysteria. Time-management gurus have been preaching their work-more-efficiently systems since the days of Benjamin Franklin ("Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions"). But more people are searching for new techniques to speed through tasks. In the electronic, gadgetized age of e-mail, BlackBerrys and ever-more-sophisticated desktop software—all designed theoretically to manage digital information efficiently—we've become overwhelmed. That's where the productivity industry comes in. The question is, however, whether this newfound emphasis on productivity is helping—or just making us crazier.

Robert J. Samuelson, “Productivity’s False Facade,”
Newsweek, March 24, 2003
Page 46

It’s tempting to believe that productivity—especially improved technology—will rescue the economy. The grounds for skepticism start with history.

In the Great Depression some industries experienced rapid productivity gains, as economic historian Michael A. Bernstein of the University of California, San Diego, has pointed out. Food marketing was one.

Small grocery stores gave way to new supermarkets; there were 300 in 1935 and almost 5,000 by 1939. Refrigerator sales boomed—from about 800,000 in 1930 to 2.3 million in 1937.

Electrification raised light-bulb sales sharply. But these and other gains couldn’t overcome otherwise dismal economic conditions.

Burroughs, Edgar Rice. The Efficiency Experts
Missouri: 1966
Page 45

“What do you have to know to be an efficiency expert?” asked the girl.

“From what I saw of the bird I just mentioned the less one knows about anything the more successful he should be as an efficiency expert, for he certainly didn’t know anything. And yet the results from kicking everybody in the plant out of his own particular rut eventually worked wonders for the organization.
If the man had had any sense, tact or diplomacy nothing would have been accomplished.

From G.R. Searle, The Quest for National Efficiency: a Study in British Politics and Political Thought
1899-1914, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1971
Page139

Lord Roseberry was a most wonderful man,

He had every species of scheme on his shelf.
But ‘efficiency’ still formed the gist of his plan,
And ‘efficiency’ meant nothing else than himself.

Luther H. Gulick, M.D. The Efficient Life
New York, 1907
Page 8

The conditions for efficiency in the case of the ordinary day labourer are not complex. His work is that of a coarse machine, turning out, like a grain thresher, a great amount of production relatively low in grade. His efficiency is but little disturbed by constant feeding upon indigestible victuals, by frequent carousals, by a dirty skin and bad air. Low-grade production does not need a high-grade organism.

Tichi, Cecelia.  Shifting GearsTechnology, Literature, Culture in Modernist America
University of North Carolina Press. 1987
ISBN 0807841676
Page 9

For the intellectual center of Taylorism was not the worker, but the mastermind. It was not the rank and file but the engineer whose formulations would prevail and endure.

Shuman, Michael. Going Local
New York: Free Press, 1998
ISBN 0684830124
Page 48

Efficiency, economists argue, requires specialization. The narrower the range of tasks an individual performs, the better he or she becomes at it. But, as any person who has sweated on an assembly lone knows, a job reduced to the turning of a screw does little to satisfy the soul or self-esteem. Real people are not satisfied with the role of Chaplinesque automatons that economists have assigned them, and they look for more from a job than just a paycheck. They seek a challenge, pride, and respect. And, if given the choice, many people will gladly choose a more exciting job with less take-home pay....

Clifford Stoll,  Silicon Snake Oil
New York: 1995
ISBN 0385419937
Pages 74, 75

Past generations of millwrights, blacksmiths, and machinists are almost gone. Theirs was a real workplace, of forges, lathes, and anvils. Nothing virtual about a diesel engine or hydraulic press. They built iron horses with muscles of steam, skyscrapers with brick and rivet and lime. We’re fast replacing their hard mechanical world with a gossamer network of fibers. Our is one of artificial reality, software tools, and expert systems. There’s nothing to touch; no inner workings to admire. The pendulum clock from sixty years ago attracts more attention than today’s more accurate quartz watch. Makes me wonder what history we’re leaving behind. Footprints across an artificial reality are as evanescent as data on the Ethernet.

Stewart, Thomas A.  Intellectual Capital
New York: 1997
ISBN 0385482280
Page 40

More and more people spend their working day in the realm of information and ideas. Overall, according to calculations by Stephen R. Barley, professor of industrial engineering and industrial management at Stanford University, the share of the American labor force whose jobs primarily involve working with things (farmworkers, operators and laborers, craftspeople) or delivering nonprofessional services (hotel and restaurant workers, distribution workers, retail clerks, domestic servants, barbers and beauticians, health aides, etc.) will have fallen by more than half by the turn of the century, from 83 percent in 1900 to an estimated 41 percent; those who work chiefly with information (in sales, managerial and administrative, professional and technical, or clerical jobs), were 17 percent of the workforce in 1900 and will be 59 percent as the new century dawns.