Efficiency is the Debbil!

Will Wilkinson does the lord's work in rebuking Slate's Daniel Gross' attempt to blame government incompetence on... the just-in-time efficiency revolution?

Gross's painfully ill-executed attempt to connect things that aren't connected makes plain that the problem here has nothing to do with just-in-time-ism. How well did electricity, phone, and gas fare in natural disasters before the just-in-time revolution? Well, worse! Did Hospitals formerly have more backup generators? No. Gross is implying that there was a less efficient time in which these systems were at least more robust, and this lost of robustness cost us. But the less efficient but more robust age never was. He's just bullshitting us. With more efficient and therefore faster and cheaper wholesalers and shippers, stuff that gets broken is easier to fix faster [and] cheaper. The whole system is more robust, and heals more quickly.

So say we all. Well, all of us over here, anyway. I find it fascinating that people can still think that taking more time, energy, and material to do something can somehow make us better off than using less to get the same result; that is, that protecting inefficient industries or propping up inefficient means of production (given the US's national and regional circumstances of time and place) will somehow make things cheaper, more plentiful, and make Americans richer.

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_Slack: Getting Past

_Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency_ by DeMarco is an interesting look at allowing enough looseness in a system.