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Old Standards Do Not Apply to Efficiency

November 18, 2002

John Balzar's Nov. 13 commentary, "Sorry, but the Economy Is No Longer in Service," completely misses the point. He's trying to measure 21st century productivity by the standards of the Groucho Marx era. It took me 58 seconds to find the address, phone number, driving directions and links for special events at each location for two outlets of a major book chain in Long Beach and one in Lakewood. If I didn't need to have the book immediately, I could have placed an order for the book online and had it delivered to my doorstep in as little as one business day -- and I would have been immediately advised of its availability.

Now that is a clear improvement in productivity. The whole approach to accomplishing the task has changed, and it is counterproductive to use 1940s' techniques to measure 21st century productivity. Yes, people with low levels of skills have been replaced, but by fewer people with a much higher skill level and at higher levels of compensation. Even Groucho Marx would have seen it had he opened his eyes.

Harvey H. Rosen

Marina del Rey

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