The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Friday, November 26, 2004


Say What?

InstaPundit promotes James Bennett's The Anglosphere Challenge by posting this excerpt:


The first indication came when the falling price of computers crossed the point where the average programmer could afford to own a computer capable of producing the code from which he typically earned his living. This meant that, for the first time since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the ownership of the most critical tool of production in the most critical industry of the world's leading economy was readily affordable by the individual worker. Throughout the first three decades of the Information Age, the individual worker was still dependent on his employer for his means of production, just as any textile worker in Manchester or Lawrence was in 1840.

Suddenly, this changed. Now it is as if a steelworker could afford his own blast furnace or rolling mill, an automobile worker his own assembly line. By strict Marxist definitions, capitalism ended sometime in the early 1990s. This is a development that has not received adequate attention.


This development is not epochal, and serves to tell us very little (other than perhaps that strict Marxism is bunkum, and it shouldn't take James Bennett to make us realize that). An independent computer consultant doesn't need much capital to go into business for himself. How is this different from other areas where people work for themselves: Realtors, writers, travel agents, accountants, plumbers, electricians, importers, even to some extent dentists and general practitioners.

Also note that there is a limited amount that a programmer can accomplish with a PC in his garage -- or home office, to update the hoary Silicon Valley cliche. It's not possible for one person to replicate Google, whose software was developed by dozens of people, and hosted on thousands of servers. It's not possible for one person, no matter how clever or creative, to create a video game; again, one would need a team of programmers and another team of artists.

The developed world progressively becomes less and less dependent on manufacturing and agriculture, and orients itself more toward services. This was evident much earlier than the early 90's.


3 comments

3 Comments:

Hey floyd

make a post about the obnoxious christmas display.
thats in your general area right?

By Blogger Micah, at 11:57 AM  

Obnoxious Christmas display? Which one? I didn't see any such post on InstaPundit.

By Blogger Floyd, at 1:46 PM  

i thought i saw it on instapundit, maybe i saw it somewhere else, all i remember is that the link went to the san jose mercury newspaper. i dunno it made me think of you. i guess these people put up a christmas display that drew literally thousands of people to the neighborhood to see it because it was so magnificent. (to make matters worse their house is in a cul-de-sac) and finally the neighbors complained, and the municipality banned the display.

something along those lines.

just thought you might know something of it.

By Blogger Micah, at 7:25 PM  

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