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Repair, Replacement, and the Division of Labor

February 28, 2014
6677Jason Maxham writes in today's Mises Daily:
The second step, fixing something, is often a recreation of the manufacturing process. Getting a machine back to working, you tread the same steps that were done at the factory. The troubleshooter’s role as a de facto manufacturer becomes clearer when you think about how many times a machine can be re-built over its lifetime. The problem is, the manufacturer will always be better at putting together machines. That’s the whole point of their existence: to efficiently turn raw materials into finished products! To that end, they have many advantages over the jack-of-all-trades you become when troubleshooting: wherever the problem lies within a machine, you must go there and be prepared to fix it. Contrast that with the highly specialized labor used in manufacturing. In general, the troubleshooter must know much more about a machine than an individual worker in an assembly line; however, that knowledge will be shallow compared to the deep expertise of a worker who performs the same operation, day in and day out, on a specific part of a machine.

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