Aug 11, 2005

Excess Labor in China

Steven Levitt recounts his experiences when travelling in China.

At our hotel in China, for instance, there was a floor monitor, whose main job it seemed, was to press the button for the elevator. Maybe she also did other tasks I didn't notice, but she could always be relied on to hit that elevator button. In restaurants, as well, servers were everywhere, seemingly one
server per table.

I remember one of my ex-bosses, an American, having the same incredulity when he visited Bangalore for the first time.

We were having coffee after a training program at the Leela Palace lobby, and when we finished I started to walk away after keeping my coffee mug on a side table, and he looked aghast, his mug was in his hand....
"You Indians are so spoilt by cheap labor that you don't understand it's value"!