EXTREME SPECIALIZATION. De Botton illustrates the marvels of today’s logistics with strawberries. Strawberries start to go bad from gray mold 96 hours after they are picked, and yet at different times of year, they come in from Israel, Morocco, Spain, England or San Diego. He points out the extreme specialization which has enabled the achievements of modern distribution: “the people who may have spent twenty years specialising in the storage of flammable solvents or the reaction of wood pulp to water vapor” and the “masters of specific trades, for example, the storage of bitumen or the construction of ship-loading conveyors” and the people who “devote their careers to implementing minor economies in the movements of shelf-stackers and forklift operators.” As I posted here, “This is in the tradition of Adam Smith on the division of labor (specialization): ‘Each individual becomes more expert in his own particular branch, more work is done upon the whole, and the quantity of science is considerably increased by it.’”

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