John McKnight, “Valuable Deficiencies
Co-Evolution Quarterly, Fall 1977
Page 38

A served society is the sum of the deficiency that “enables” people to be clients. If we are unable to free ourselves from the ideology of service, we will die of our dependence on deficiency. A nation of (clients) cannot conceive of a democratic possibility, much less act in behalf of the common good. A nation of clients will accept the central premise of serving systems, i.e., “I will be better because my servers know better.” This premise, embedded in any culture, is the basic foundation for totalitarian rule.

David Mayes, Christopher Harris and Melanie Lansbury, Inefficiency In Industry
New York, 1994: ISBN 0745008674
Page 23

Inefficiency is a dynamic rather than a static concept. At any point in time a firm may appear to be inefficient in comparison to others in the industry if its productivity, using identical resources, is below its competitors. At any particular moment some firms will be more, or less, efficient than others, but this ranking will vary over time. External shocks within an industry will affect firms in different ways; firms will differ in their adjustment to shocks and they will differ in their speed of reaction to and preparation for shocks.

Michael Treacy, Fred Wiersema, The Discipline Of Market Leaders
1995 ISBN 0201406489
Pages 49, 58

Ford maintained a very narrow product line. He didn’t introduce a variant of the Model T until millions of units of the basic model had been produced. As for variety in color, he left posterity his legendary remark: “Any color you want as long as it’s black.” Operationally excellent companies reject variety, because it burdens the business with cost. They produce no-frills products for the middle of the market where demand is huge and customers are more interested in cost than in choice.

Arlie Russell Hochschild, “There’s No Place Like Work
The New York Times Magazine, April 20, 1997
Page 52

More mothers of small children than ever now work outside the home. In 1993, 56 percent of women with children between 6 and 17 worked outside the home full time year round; 43 percent of women with children 6 and under did the same.

Meanwhile, fathers of small children are not cutting back hours of work to help out at home. If anything, they have increased their hours at work. According to a 1992 national survey conducted by the Families and work Institute in New York, American men average 48.8 hours of work a week, and women 41.7 hours, including overtime and commuting. All in all, more women are on the economic train, and for many—men and women alike—that train is going faster.

Phil Lemmons, “You Can Be Home Again
PC World, April 1997
Page 17

November/December 1996 issue of the Harvard Business Review. In an article entitled “The Hollow Ring of the Productivity Revival,” Roach writes:

“Laptops, cellular phones, wireless modems, and fax machines may changes the work environment for many professionals, but they don’t alter the thought processes that ultimately lead to breakthroughs. What those tools have done, however, is help to extend the working day.” Roach goes on to say,” ... generating more output by working longer hours fails the test of meaningful productivity growth.

Fruchter, Jill.  At Our Leisure
New York: 1997. ISBN 188574711X
Page 7

Legal gambling in the U.S. generated record revenues of $44.4 billion during 1995, but he increase of $4.6 billion, or 11.4% over 1994, indicates a slowdown in the growth of wagering, says a Christiansen/Cummings Associates study, cited in The Wall Street Journal. Revenues were generated from $550.3 billion wagered on all forms of legal games in the U.S. that is also a record, and an increase of $67.6 billion, or 14% from 1994. The rate of revenue increase from 1994 to ‘95 slipped for the first time in recent years, signaling that the boom has begun to stall for the time being.

Source: Christiansen/Cummings Associates survey, for International Gambling & Wagering Business magazine, reported in The Wall Street Journal July 29, 1996.

Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club
New York: 1996 ISBN 0916366847
Page 123

I use a computer. This enables me to be highly efficient. Suppose, for example, that I need to fill up column space by writing BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER. To accomplish this in the old precomputer days, I would have had to type “BOOGER” five times manually.

But now all I have to do is type it once, then simply hold the left-hand “mouse” button down while “dragging” the “mouse” so that the “cursor” moves over the text that I wish to “select; then release the left-hand “mouse” button and position the “cursor” over the “Edit” heading on the “menu bar;” then click the left-hand “mouse button to reveal the “edit menu;” then position the “cursor” over the “Copy” command; the click the left-hand “mouse” button;

Dertouzos, Michael L,  Information Society: How The New World Of Information Will Change Our Lives
New York, 1997: ISBN 0062514792
Page 271

Paul Strassmann, for many years the chief of information at Xerox and more recently director of information at the Pentagon, conducted an ambitious study of 630 different companies, asking precisely this question. In his book The Business Value of Computers, he attempted to relate each company’s profitability to various indicators of computer intensity like the information technology budget and the number of PCs per employee.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Business Opening eyes to problems of workplace computers
By Kathleen Donnelly
Knight-Ridder News Service Thursday, 28-Aug-97

Millions of Americans who work in front of video-display terminals have symptoms of what the American Optometric Association calls “computer-related vision syndrome”: tired, irritated eyes; sore necks, backs and shoulders; headaches ; blurry or double vision; and difficulty focusing after long days in front of the screen.

Landauer, Thomas K,  The Trouble With Computers
U.S.A.: 1995 ISBN 0262121867
Page 75

Service managers thought that buying computers would set straight the imbalance in capital support for work—that computers would do for service productivity what the assembly line and fertilizer had done for tangibles. They were misled. IT made it possible to do more work but not to do work more productively. Usually each added dollar’s worth of IT capital produced just a dollar’s worth of output before it was retired. The new workers produced about the same amount of added value each day as did the old. The total new output from services just about equaled the total new input in IT equipment and the labor hours it required.

Twitchell, James B.  Lead Us Into Temptation
New York: 1999. ISBN 023111518
Page 12

What sets American culture of the late twentieth century apart is not avarice, but a surfeit of machine-made things. What is clear is that most of these things in and of themselves simply do not mean enough. So we have developed very powerful ways to add meaning to goods. This is a chicken-and-egg situation, to be sure. For it is American production and marketing techniques (advertising, packaging, branding, fashion, and the like) and our eagerness to embrace them that have produced surplus. Consumption of things and their meanings is how most Western young people cope in a world that science has pretty much bled of traditional religious meanings.

Lynch, Merrill.  “Human Achievement.
Hertz System Inc. 1999

WE LOVE TECHNOLOGY. It’s new and it’s shiny and it inspires a certain awe, like the great pyramid of Cheops or a tiny new human being. Technology is good at the heavy lifting. People are good at the heavy thinking. Bits and bytes and ones and zeroes fly around the planet, but only at our discretion. The computer has a role model, and it is us. Computers are plastic and metal and sand. People are brilliance and discernment and vision. Admire machines. Worship their inventors.

M. M. Kirsch,  How to Get Off The Fast Track
New York, 1991
Page 13

It is not difficult to understand why so many bought into a version of success that promised little in the way of self-worth and accomplishment. Television, magazines, and billboards on every corner work to convince us that making money is the single road to success. But the media is only partially to blame. religious and intellectual traditions have been replaced by short-order entertainment and comforts that do nothing to feed the soul.

Stumpf, Bill. The Ice Palace That Melted Away
New York: 1998. ISBN 0375402217
Pages xii and 35

All these years I’ve been observing a change in American life that the optimist in me (designers have to be optimists) describes not as a decline, but a roller-coaster search for comfort. Not comfort as in “the lush life” or “creature comforts,” but comforts as defined by William Gass: “a lack of awareness.” If your shoes are truly comfortable, you aren’t aware that you have them on....

Mander, Jerry, and Edward Goldsmith. The Case Against The Global Economy
SanFrancisco: 1996. ISBN 0871563525
Page 25 and 355

Contrary to the claims of ideologies who preach a form of corporate libertarianism, markets need governments to function efficiently. It is well established in economic theory and practice that markets allocate resources efficiently only when markets are competitive and when firms pay for the social and environmental impact of their activity—that is, when they internalize the costs of their production. This requires that governments set and enforce the rules that make cost internalization happen, and, since successful firms invariably grow larger and more monopolistic, governments regularly step in to break them up and restore competition...

Huber, Peter W.  “Reverend Malthus, Meet Doctor Faustus.
Commentary magazine, November 1998
Page 33

The fact is that, although skeptics have good answers to neo-Malthusian arguments about our predicament, and although they understand that efficiency and complexity are not enemies but partners, that does not really dispose of the matter.

For one thing, efficiency itself, especially in the form of energy conservation, hardly precludes "cancerous" consumption. Our ceilings today are insulated twice as well as they were twenty years ago, our walls 40-percent better, our floors four times as well. New furnaces, air-conditioning units, heat pumps, refrigerators, water heaters, furnaces, washers, dishwashers, and cars use much less energy than their predecessors. Nobody can dispute the real gains that have been made in this realm, any more than one can dispute the gains made with sweeteners that deliver no calories.

Postrel, Virginia I. The Future and its Enemies: The Growing Conflict over Creativity, Enterprise and Progress
New York: The Free Press, 1998. ISBN 0684827603
Page 16

Running for reelection in 1996, Bill Clinton and Al Gore promised again and again to build a "bridge to the twenty-first century." The slogan cast them as youthful builders and doers, the sort of people with whom forward-looking voters would identify. It contrasted nicely with Bob Dole's nostalgic convention pledge to build a bridge to a better past.

Sachs, Wolfgang. Planet Dialectics
New York: Zed Books, 1999
ISBN 1856497003
Page 39

Twenty years ago, 'limits to growth' was the watchword of the environmental movement worldwide; today the buzzword of international ecology experts is 'global change'. The messages implied are clearly different. 'Limits to growth' calls on homo industrialis to reconsider his project and to abide by nature's laws. 'Global change', however, puts humankind in the driver's seat and urges it to master nature's complexities with greater self-control. While the first formula sounds threatening, the second has an optimistic ring: it believes in a rebirth of homo faber and, on a more prosaic level, lends itself to the belief that the proven means of modern economy – product innovation, technological progress, market regulation, science-based planning -- will show the way out of the ecological predicament.

Mintzberg, Henry.  Mintzberg on Management
Free Press, New York: 1989 ISBN 0029213711
Page 331

In practice, efficiency does not mean the greatest benefit for the cost; it means the greatest measurable benefit for the measurable cost. In other words, efficiency means demonstrated efficiency, proven efficiency, above all, calculated efficiency. A management obsessed with efficiency is a management obsessed with measurement. The cult of efficiency is the cult of calculation. And therein lies the problem.

A simple experiment demonstrates the point. I asked fifty-nine MBA students, cold, at the start of a class on another subject, to write down the first thing that came into their heads when I said that a restaurant was efficient. (Readers are invited to stop here and record their own answers.) According to Simon's definition, the answers should have varied widely. According to my contention, however, easily quantified goals should have predominated.

Bob Herbert:  We're More Productive. Who Gets the Money?
New York Times, Op-Ed April 5, 2004

It's like running on a treadmill that keeps increasing its speed. You have to go faster and faster just to stay in place. Or, as a factory worker said many years ago, "You can work 'til you drop dead, but you won't get ahead." American workers have been remarkably productive in recent years, but they are getting fewer and fewer of the benefits of this increased productivity. While the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, has been strong for some time now, ordinary workers have gotten little more than the back of the hand from employers who have pocketed an unprecedented share of the cash from this burst of economic growth.