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Unformatted text preview: ProFile 1 UNIT 8 Time is money
Over the past century, the working week and
the number of hours worked over the course
of a year has dropped dramatically in most
developed economies. Time and labour-saving
technologies mean that people can achieve as
much, if not more, in the same amount of
time. Paradoxically, even if the number of
hours falls, people complain more and more
about the speed of their working lives and the
increased stress which is involved.
THE CHINA PRICE
Nowadays, where labour remains an important
part of overall cost, US and European
countries are unable to compete with cheap
labour markets such as China. This is most
apparent in industries which use intermediate
technologies, i.e. that which is mechanized but
still requires manpower. Unless the US and
European firms can reduce their costs
significantly, they quickly become unviable.
The over-protection of the workforce in some
European countries has forced manufacturers
down the route of more mechanization.
Modern car factories and pharmaceutical
plants use a handful of workers compared with
two or three decades ago. There is greater use
of digital technology and robots. This has
actually encouraged such firms to develop a
technological edge over their more traditional
rivals. TIME AND EMAIL
The big advantage of email and the Internet is
that it is far easier to keep in contact with the
workplace, colleagues, and customers even
while on the move. Most business travellers
these days have roving email addresses which
allow them to stay in contact wherever they
are. Wi-Fi and mobile technology have in
effect allowed each person to have a virtual
office from their car or lap-top. It does,
however, raise many questions about the value
and usefulness of some of the
Even though email may have improved the
immediacy of communication, many people
claim that it wastes far more time than it saves.
They are bombarded with unnecessary, or
irrelevant emails and memory-hungry images.
Office workers complain that they have to
waste time each day getting rid of so-called
spam messages. In order to save time, most
businesses sieve email messages through spam
All of this has meant that there has been a
reaction against email, which has been
reflected in the refusal of many higher-level
managers to work with it. The higher up a
company you move, the more messages you
are copied into, and the pressure of dealing
with email increases. LUDDITES
In Britain, during the industrial revolution,
workers who wove by hand smashed the
machines which were replacing their labour.
They were known as Luddites after their leader,
Ned Ludd. Nowadays, this is used as an
idomatic term for anyone who opposes or does
not understand modern technology. See the ProFile Student’s site: www.oup.com/elt/profile Photocopiable © Oxford University Press ...
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This note was uploaded on 12/12/2010 for the course RBS BCN taught by Professor Dekoe during the Spring '10 term at Rotterdam Business School.
- Spring '10