A HIGH-TECH SERMON FOR THE SERVICE SECTOR
Regarding "Health care has a bad case of 'cost disease'" (Economic Viewpoint, Nov. 15), modern technology may not be able to improve the productivity of all areas of the service industry, but many can benefit from it. [William J.] Baumol's [fixed productivity of a] string quartet is a good example. In 1791, only a couple of hundred people at most could hear a performance. Today, a single performance can be recorded and broadcast to millions of people.
I used to charge people hundreds of dollars to provide such legal services as incorporations, trademarks, and bankruptcies. And I was able to improve my productivity as well as lower consumers' costs by putting the same information and legal forms into books and computer diskettes.
Eventually, more areas of the service sector will figure out how to use new technology to improve their productivity and lower prices.
Sphinx International Inc.