Friday, March 04, 2016

The Paperless Office Redux

John Quiggin at Crooked Timber discusses a paper of his that says we've reached peak paper.

I remember in 1984 when the IT guys were trying to build their case for the System/36 in ASCS offices, one of them asked me about the paperless office.  Now we all know my memory is fading as rapidly as my age is increasing, so I don't really remember whether I was asked a leading question about it, and answered with a paean to the possibility that ASCS offices and farmers would get out from under the paperwork burden, or whether I was skeptical.  Most likely I wimped out and answered somewhere in between.

Anyhow, Quiggin thinks it's finally here, and that means the consumption of paper worldwide will increase.  It makes sense to me now: I'm typing on a 23 inch monitor with color and WYSIWYG; in 1984 it would have been a monochrome 14 inch monitor, etc. etc.   He points to the explosion in information (in 1984 it would have been an 8-inch floppy).  He goes on to discuss a parallel with Peak Oil, Peak Coal, and Peak Steel.

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