Society is not a Factory

Thank God for true diversity - human variability.

Genichi Taguchi, a leading Japanese manufacturing guru, defined quality. He invented what is called the Loss Function of Quality:

"Quality is the loss imparted to society through variation."

I’ve always thought it strange that Marx, when fighting against reduction in value of physical labor brought about by machines, factories and industrialization, created an economic and social theory that sought to turn the world into nothing more than a factory for humans. He took the very theories he detested in the industrial environment and applied them to humans – even though these theories were driving massive increases in productivity and rapidly decreasing prices of factory made goods.

Marx's theories are primarily directed toward industry and the industrial revolution, so it is no surprise he essentially viewed the world as a factory and humans as both its assets and its product.

Look at how collectivists think:

  • They define “freedom” as the elimination of risk though having everything planned for you.

  • They define equality as everybody having exactly the same kinds and amounts of “stuff” – no variation.

  • They believe that both of the above can be brought about by central planning and collective ownership of all productive assets.

  • They believe that the role of people is to fulfill the plan, no more and no less. Variation is not allowed.

  • They believe that happiness, freedom and fulfillment are found by working to the glory of the state that makes the plan.

Collectivists (and I use this terminology to define all socialists/Marxists/communists), the acolytes of Marx, make one simple but glaring mistake when they claim that a collectivist system will produce true “freedom” through a planned economy.

Planning and designing a human based economy or society to eliminate variation eliminates choice. If one cannot choose, one cannot be free.

Contrary to the claims of the collectivists, the way to create the maximum amount of efficiency in a society and an economy is not collectivism. Collectivism guarantees mismatches in supply and demand. The collectivist signaling and decision making process is far too slow to cope with rapid economic changes. With these mismatches comes a restriction of freedom of choice, the result of which is the least amount of freedom.

But society is no human factory.

And thank God for human variability!

Without that variability, the many solutions and advancements we enjoy today would not exist.