How Should We Judge Products?

How_should_we_ProductsIn a society where money rules the criteria to judge products often revolves around quantity and costs. The number of units matters much more than the quality of product. Mass production means much more than craftsmanship.

Historian Carlo Cipolla finds such criteria to be deficient. He notes:

Subscription8.11“But if one states simply that the average production of a weaver consisted of so many yards of cloth a day, that the average production of a cabinetmaker consisted of so many pieces of furniture a year, or that of the locksmith so many locks a month, one ignores the fact that some of those pieces of cloth, many of those pieces of furniture and many of those locks are exquisite works of art, infinitely more beautiful and better than analogous, contemporary products. If one could adequately take into consideration the qualitative element, then the productivity of the craftsmen of the pre-industrial age would appear astonishingly high.”

Carlo M. Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 1000-1700, (W.W. Norton & Co., New York), 1976, p. 127.