Friday, May 30, 2014

MUST SEE Third World Construction Techniques Without Machines

Increases in minimum wage jobs are pushing automation into sectors of the economy where they would unlikely appear on the free market. However, there is nothing wrong with automation itself, as these videos show, a country with limited capital means using labor that is a lot less efficient than automation.

Here's a group pile driving to music.

This is pretty amazing:

(ht Mark Perry)


  1. Your average bus-driver in India is a better driver (although far more reckless) than the average here; he can also repair a tire or an engine, and collect every ticket on the bus, doing the math in his head.

    I can walk out any time of the day and have my shoes repaired by expert cobblers. Crafts flourish that are long dead in the US.

    Everything is reused, from newspaper to grass. There are innovative technologies everywhere you look.
    India has an abundance of young people. Wages in some places are still low. Why not use them?

    Machinery is wasteful in those circumstances.

    I can have anything tailor- made with quality you can no longer find in other parts of the world, especially for the price.

    So what if some of the building standards aren't up to international code yet?

    When the electricity went out for days, life carried on in India, because no one is dependent on machinery.

    People climb stairs and walk.

    Efficiency is a good thing. But it's not the be-all and end-all.

    1. Its nice you live like a king but what about the peasants who serve you? I dont think they like being low wage workers.

      Its similar in Indonesia where I live, great service, but I'd give up all the cheap labor so they could have factory jobs using machines that multiplied their productivity so they could be more like me.

    2. @Shipley

      What? I am not saying that people shouldn't pay high wages if they want to. Where'd you get that?

      I am saying what's wrong with using people when labor is cheap, rather than using some other method which might be more expensive?
      Let the people decide how they want to run their businesses.

      This has nothing to do with "living like a king."

      Why don't you actually go to India and see whether people employing servants like like kings.

      It's a very ordinary thing. Even lower middle-class people employ servants to do some chores.
      This one size-fits all theorizing doesn't cut it.

      Your average working class stiff here lives like a king compared to most people in India.

  2. I probably shouldn't even say this... But I SO admire Men! They are crazy and irrepressible! Where would we be without them?


    Yes, that was my response to the guy in the last video.

    I was sitting next to one of my (awesome) employees and she

  4. And she said "what did you say" and I just hemmed and hawed for a second and said "that was so freakin awesome".

    She accepted my outburst as "not profane or blasphemous" so I hope she doesn't quit. She's a devout Christian and an amazing employee. I'm sending her church a nice donation.

  5. Reminds me of this video of food workers working fast...very fast! I wonder what they earn per hour.

  6. Human ingenuity is wasted here, they could have been doing something better with their life, carrying 20 ft of bricks or leaping off the third floor of a building are not done by choice. We can never cater to all the diverse human needs if we don't utilize the resources in the most productive way.

    In a way isn't this Keynesian ideas at work? Maximum employment with the demand side multiplier effects will be creating a perpetual economic boom in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka any time now.

  7. @msreekam

    "is wasted" - not if they don't have the space or money for machinery.

    Not Keynesian at all. Keynes was interested in make work for the sake of employment. These are private firms employing people to do real work.

    I am saying that when one of your greatest resources is human beings and when labor is cheap, use labor.
    Millions of ordinary Indians do.

    Cars are expensive and dangerous in India and the roads are very dangerous.
    The roads are so congested, people are flying instead. Nothing wrong with that. Flight prices are coming down. But no one should be forced to fly and if they can do what they want online, what is wrong with that?
    Labor is cheap. So, instead of using machinery, online ordering and delivery are booming. And people hire low-wage employees to cue for them.
    How is that Keynesian. It's the free market.

    It's just not YOUR idea of the free market.

    1. "not if they don't have the space or money for machinery."

      What do you mean by this? It makes no sense.

      Wages are low because they aren't using machines. Once (if ever) they get machines helping with the work, their labour will be more productive. 2 things will happen. 1) some will get raises ... 2) others would get fired, thus freeing them up to do other work.

      And before you even go there... there is always more work to do. There is always demand.
      Economics - The study of how LIMITED RESOURCES are allocated to satisfy UNLIMITED DEMAND.

    2. Hi Lila Rajiva,

      Keynesian mention was only an after thought related to the point that the productive employment of resources create wealth and not multiplier math. In that sense roundaboutness of production seems to be a hurdle to the actual Keynesian intent, then why don't they recommend completely returning to labor intensive methods, quite like the videos posted here.

      Indeed the third world methods are not Keynesian in it's intent, it's market at work, employment of labor is more optimal relative to other capital intensive methods. I do not reject this reality but there is little to celebrate here. Only with capital accumulation can they guy who is carrying 20 ft of bricks the whole day be transformed into a more productive resource and hence be capable of satisfying more diverse needs, both his own and of his fellows.

    3. Just look at how well it has worked in the US. Automation has freed up millions of Americans from dull jobs. Now they can sit at home, watch tv, get fat and unhealthy, play violent video games, get into crime, and just generally enjoy life, all on someone else's dime. Much better than India, where they would have to work at a job some of us would consider beneath us.

    4. @Larry Evans: Really? And automation accomplished this how exactly?

  8. Sorry, not "cue," I meant queue.

    Yes, machinery will free up workers. I don't object to that. I am simply saying that if people don't have machinery, for whatever reason, and they use cheap labor, so what?

    It makes plenty of sense, if you've actually lived in India, to consider space. There is often not enough space on the roads for trucks, for instance. However, there is space enough for smaller vehicles, like scooters or minivans, so more people use them in place of larger trucks.

    I know what limited resources are.
    Demand is created by advertising and marketing.
    There is no spontaneous unlimited demand, without that.

    1. Lila, I admire you for your patience and tolerance. Evidently you've had to deal with a lot of "educated", arrogant, know-it-all Americans. Everyone should try to be more like you.

  9. Larry Evans,

    All the extravagant activities you mentioned are applicable to Indians too, humans are same everywhere, when there is enough time we might engage in productive activities or destructive ones.

    Impact of prosperity is felt with development in arts, culture and education also along with the above mentioned accessibility to crime and violence. There are always multiple sides to the same equation. If productivity is all about unwanted luxuries then we might as well go back to atavistic agrarian society.

    Unlike the western countries in India those individuals who engage in menial jobs get zero respect, they are there because have no option, thanks to all the govt "planning".

  10. @Mrseekan

    You are making false dichotomies. India can develop without necessarily developing the exact same way the West has. Why do you want to micromanage how it develops? Its culture is different.

    People are not "all the same" everywhere. Cannibals head-hunters who live in terror of demons are the same as rational agrarian societies? Really?

    There are good and bad things in all cultures. Now, that's quite a different argument.

    Also, it is not true that labor gets no respect in India. Do you think a garbage collector gets the same respect as a nuclear physicist anywhere? So what's your point?

    So yes, India is still class conscious, but often in a good way.
    It means that people have higher standards than what they draw from pop culture and celebrity nonsense.
    Point two.
    Unions are very strong in many states and enforce labor contracts that are quite well-paying by Indian standards.

    Point three.

    Since the time of Vivekananda, Indian intellectuals have been preaching the value of manual labor, the dignity of work, and pointing to the good qualities of Western life, where the common man is respected.

    That was over a century ago. Several states have strong communist movements and labor agitation takes place everywhere.

    So pretending that more respect for labor is the answer is misguided. And trying to appeal to the mob instincts of the working class is wrong.

    Remember the Indian middle-class is much less well-to-do than the American working class in many respects.

    There were doctors in teaching hospitals making only $200/mth a few years ago. Today, they might make $1500-2000 a month. They still have to deal with all the difficulties of living in India, the pollution, the crowds, the rotten political class, the crony capitalists.

    Point 4.
    Nor is it true that labor is highly underpaid. It is actually very very difficult to get labor in the household these days and servants are quite well paid relative to their skills.

    The fact that they are not paid like the West is because the West controls the supply of labor by immigration restrictions.

    Let's get real here.

    The whole "modern slavery" meme is being pushed by billionaires, including Buffet, Gates and the Walk Free Foundation.

    You can bet it's not about more freedom for people but about control for crony capitalists.
    It's understandable that Indians know more about America than Americans know about India because of the relative positions of the two countries.
    And I wish I could be more patient...
    It's easier to get things across.
    Thanks anyway...

    1. Lila Rajiva,

      If a society finds value in sheer exercise of manual labor then they should be allowed to pursue those labor intensive means. If they don't and they do prefer more efficient ways for removing uneasiness then capital investment is an alternative but I never recommended micromanaging anyone.

      Any tendency to romanticize manual labor is ridiculous since it's usually done when there is no other alternative. Human action is to remove certain uneasiness but not many exercise labor just for it's own sake, such basic assumptions hold true for all the civilized societies.

      We are not talking about savages nor I am appealing to mob instincts, it's my own perception that individuals engaged in menial jobs demand less respect in India compared to the US. I do not say that it's bad or good culture but it is a reality.

      Indian society is a melting pot so "class consciousness", communist movements, work culture, definition of "middle-class" are all subjective. We cannot talk about these topics without being specific.

      I do not know what is "modern slavery" meme, my point is only to discourage any celebration of manual labor by placing it on a pedestal. It's a necessity and not some act of greater good.