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On Tue, Sep 17, 2002 at 11:11:41AM -0500, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
> They make Mercedes SUVs in Alabama (no joke).
> Would a modern day software vendor stay in
> business if it had to use the Mercedes
> design approach? Remember, the Mercedes
> SUV is made in America, so the "Americans
> build junk" phil won't wash.
It's a gross generalization with an element of truth, depending on what
country you are comparing the US with. But I didn't and don't say that
"Americans make junk." Every country has some junk, and Americans make
some high-quality products*.
But I will make, and defend, the statement that the American economic
system and the emerging, US-dominated global system, make it difficult
to invest in good design and quality manufacturing. I think the reasons
are well-known: primarily the pressure from financial markets for
short-term profits--which has no doubt always been there but has been
exacerbated by deregulation over the last two decades.
And the popularity of that moronic mantra "better, faster, cheaper"
hasn't helped. "Better" usually loses because it is hard to measure.
> It is a matter
> of what will a customer pay for something
> considered disposable.
Which partly depends on cultural attitudes towards things being
> Software is eminently
> disposable. Data isn't. That is exactly why
> markup came to be.
* However, I believe it is fair to say that some countries (Japan,
Germany, and Scandinavia come to mind) have a higher proportion of
quality products and services than the US. The fact that it's been
said before, and the fact that the quality of some American products
(notably cars) has improved in recent years, don't make it untrue.
One concrete example: what happens when you stick a bill in a US
vending machine or change machine? It works, what, maybe 60% of the
time? Whereas Japanese machines very rarely reject bills--in seven
years there, it happened to me about three or four times.
I wish I had time to continue the dissertation. But let me close
with the thought that junk and bad practices exist everywhere, but
they are unevenly distributed, and it is instructive to examine why
that is so.
Englewood, Colorado, USA