Question about labor market history and the automobile.

Orsorum

Lifer
Dec 26, 2001
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Keep in mind I know nothing about this.

I am curious if, when automobiles first became widespread and within the reach of the common consumer, mechanics were in high demand, treated as skilled laborers and paid accordingly.

The thought I had in mind was that perhaps the personal computer market is comparable to the automobile market; when it is first opened up to the vast buying power of the middle and lower classes, mechanics and professionals who understand how to fix and maintain the commodity are in high demand. However, as time goes on, the market is flooded with professionals and the knowledge becomes either commonplace or easily exportable, and the bottom drops out of the domestic market.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
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unlike IT, mechanics can't be exported

all competitive markets are that way though. something profitable is created, with pretty low barriers to entry, and lots of people jump on board. that dilutes and eventually nullifies any economic profit to be had. you know that, of course.
 

Orsorum

Lifer
Dec 26, 2001
27,626
3
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Originally posted by: ElFenix
unlike IT, mechanics can't be exported

all competitive markets are that way though. something profitable is created, with pretty low barriers to entry, and lots of people jump on board. that dilutes and eventually nullifies any economic profit to be had. you know that, of course.
Well, it wasn't a direct comparison of method of dilution, I was curious about the actual history of the market. :p

Thanks for the input though.
 

zephyrprime

Diamond Member
Feb 18, 2001
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Mechanics may not be highly regarded but they sure are still highly paid. Ever get a car repair bill?
 

Orsorum

Lifer
Dec 26, 2001
27,626
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Originally posted by: zephyrprime
Mechanics may not be highly regarded but they sure are still highly paid. Ever get a car repair bill?
How much does the average car mechanic get paid?
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
18,003
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106
Typical Automobile = $16,000.00 ~ $25,000.00
Typical Computer = $599.95 ~ $799.95

Useful lifespan of an automobile = 10 years (+)
Useful lifespan of a computer = 3~5 years

Computers have become commodities. If it breaks, you give it to some neighbor kid and buy a new one because it will cost almost as much to fix, and the new one is substantially improved (faster, more memory and storage, etc.) over the old one.

At the same time, the real world utility of an automobile to the average person continues to be high, while most people would lose little more than a source of entertainment if their personal computer went dead.

Contrary to the 'visionary' aims for the 'digital revolution', personal computers have largely failed to live up to their early billing, at least as they pertain to the average household. Computers have found extreme utility and value in certain applications for which computers were from the very beginning exceptionally well-suited; business, scientific, academic, industrial, etc. Computers have become indispensible in these applications.

But this has not filtered down to the average household. You could confiscate personal computers from every household and the consequence would be that people would just use the phone, buy a typewriter, balance their checkbooks by hand, or [gasp!] go outside for entertainment.
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
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Originally posted by: Orsorum
Originally posted by: zephyrprime
Mechanics may not be highly regarded but they sure are still highly paid. Ever get a car repair bill?
How much does the average car mechanic get paid?
It is large gap, but I would say 20-40/hour depending on experience.
 

bozack

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2000
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Originally posted by: ElFenix
unlike IT, mechanics can't be exported

all competitive markets are that way though. something profitable is created, with pretty low barriers to entry, and lots of people jump on board. that dilutes and eventually nullifies any economic profit to be had. you know that, of course.
I don't know El, for many companies certain levels of IT techs cannot be exported either without severe loss of productivity and it doesn't seem like that is going to change soon...which is why service delivery seems to be a pretty good career for the time being, now programming and helpdesk is a different story....but tier 2 techs and above are much like the auto mechanics of the PC industry....

in response to Ors, yes mechanics were in high demand, and in some cases they still are as good like finding a good ferrari, lamborghini, bmw, lexus, merc, or other luxo mechanic who doesn't charge an arm or a leg...sure the shop takes most of it, but the independants do very well especially if they work on the imports and luxos.

general ford or chevy mecanics who work for a dealer dont get squat though and they make up the majority of mechanics.
 

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