Ian Welsh Profile picture
20 Nov, 11 tweets, 3 min read
I'll tell you a secret as someone who worked on paper and computers, being there for the transition: in most cases computers make business processes slower. A lot slower. Old mainframe processes were also faster than micro processes.

In auditing I found the difference about 4X.
A search function is only good if you know what you're looking for, exactly, for example. It was far faster to scan old paper files in audits.

Computers were generally used for control, to make workers take all sorts of steps. The slow downs were massive.
emails allowed for far more interruptions of work, you had to check them and respond. Before that it was just phones (which also sucked, especially VM, but the volume was much less.)
email, in particular, made it to easy to bother people with check ups. Previous to that the work got done when it got done, which, ironically, meant it got done faster, a lot faster.

Also email chains and email ass-covering with cc:s eat time.
In the old megacorp every time they did large "upgrades" to the computer programs we worked with, they made the workflow less efficient. I know this, because I measured it repeatedly since management wouldn't admit it if I didn't hammer them with the numbers.
computers, as administrative tools, are mostly about control, and rarely optimized for efficient work flow. Further, analog is just superior for a lot of things. For certain types of audits, give me a desk and paper files or printouts & it will go MUCH faster.
this isn't to deny all usability to computers. They are useful, and often they do allow some things to be done faster. But, as noted, that isn't what is optimized for. Also the "ease" of putting new #s into a spreadsheet/database encourages bullshit that paper files discouraged.
computers were also often used to justify moving workers away from each other, which also destroyed productivity. If I'm part of a work flow, having the person where I can easily walk over makes a huge difference in efficiency + for fixing problems.
the analog world had its issues, but it was not as shitty as people make out. And, honestly, the telecom revolution of everyone carrying a comms device sucks ass. Even in the early 90s, when work was over you were out communication w/bosses. That was GOOD.
I should note that I know the difference in auditing files because I had to an series of audits where some files had been scanned, and some were still on paper. The paper files were SO much faster there was no comparison. It was amazing.
if ya think this is all BS, remember, the improvements don't show up in productivity statistics. The onus isn't on me to make the argument, it is on those who think otherwise.


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More from @iwelsh

19 Nov
I think, for politics/economics, it's simpler to delineate the characteristics of a healthy society and then say "if not this, then it's unhealthy."

This actually leaves a lot of room for variation, rather than being very limited, it just absolutely doesn't allow certain things.
for example, you cannot have a healthy society with high levels of inequality or with an elite who does not experience the consequences of their decisions.
the money creation function cannot be in private hands (as it is now, yes, almost all money is created by entities other than central banks (the Fed is somewhat private, though, remember.)
Read 5 tweets
18 Nov
Corbyn thought he could make peace with his enemies, so he didn't re-select or remove the whip from anyone. Now his enemies, in power, are not making his mistake. The Left and Corbyn were only acceptable when they weren't a threat.
In a way I'm glad centrists are being so vindictive to Corbyn and I almost hope they drive other leftists out of the party. The route forward in Britain is to leave Labour and start a new party. Yeah, the Tories will win for a while, so be it.

No peace with enemies.
get the unions to leave Labour, back the new party. Labour cannot win without unions and left wingers. That will suck for a while but it is the strategy that allows an actual left wing party again, and that left stands a good chance of supplanting Labour.
Read 4 tweets
17 Nov
Banning a company from your country is one thing, destroying it at home, another:

both sides are hurtling towards a new cold war. The Chinese are convinced America will do anything to keep them from technological equality, the Americans that the Chinese are a bunch of bullying cheats.
The constant use of sanctions against everyone Americans hate today (Biden presumably will reverse Iran sanctions) has spread fear and is causing China, Russia and allies to do everything they can to create a separate monetary, financial and technological system.
Read 4 tweets
17 Nov
Folks, I like a real intellectual as much as the rest of you. But people like Milton Friedman (Nobel Prize) and Francis Fukuyama (End of History) are who were pushed as the great intellectuals of the neoliberal era.
I mean, "history is over" is about as stupid as you can get. "Corporations only responsibility is to shareholders" is also as stupid as you can get (and it didn't even work out that way, it worked out as a way for execs to overpay themselves with stock options.)
meanwhile, like it or not, every management consultant coming in and saying "you have to downsize and offshore" was working off material created by people like Milton Friedman and all the "globalization is inevitable, not a policy choice" economists.
Read 8 tweets
20 Aug
Obama was a piece of shit. He immunized rich people stealing people's houses, increased drone murders 3X, vastly deliberately increased fracking & turned Libya into a place with slave markets.

And those are just a few of the shit things he did.
Obama was also worse on whistleblowers than Bush II, by the way.

He really was walking human garbage and did vast harm. People who think otherwise are either clueless or garbage human beings themselves.

You have terrible leaders in part because you lie to yourselves about them.
I'm too old for this shit, and I already burned my bridges, then dropped nukes on them (that was foolish of me, honestly, but it's done, so fuck it.)

So, no, I'm not going to pretend that people like Obama and Clinton are anything better than war criminals.
Read 11 tweets
15 Jun
The simplest thing you MUST understand about the US, Britain, France and so on is that if you aren't in the top 2-3%, your leaders hate you and have nothing but contempt for you. They think you're worthless, replaceable eaters who don't understand how the world works.
Elites want you poor, because if you're poor you have less power. They think that they deserve their money and power and if you deserved any money or power you'd have it.

It's not just that they don't care about you, it's that they actively despise you and want you hurt.
this probably seems like hyperbole or exaggeration for affect.

I assure you I mean it as neither. I've spent 30 years of my life studying how our systems work. I didn't start thinking elites were evil, I resisted the conclusion.
Read 10 tweets

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