Full text: Small and Big Business

This bifurcation is by no means only a matter of rich and 
poor customers, but a natural division of function which is 
likely to stay. In the same way the experimenting small firms 
in manufacturing can exist in cooperation with big concerns 
and even retain a large degree of autonomy if they are able 
to develop and offer technological know-how, which in some 
cases they are able to do better than big laboratories. For 
this reason the small establishment combined with expert and 
highly trained personal has a role to play in a reasonable 
organisation of the economy. 
While there is no doubt that in these special fields the 
small firms continue to have considerable room for con 
tinued existence, the rest of the economy exhibits the domination 
of the large scale business today more than ever. Several 
factors have come to the fore as favouring the large concerns 
even more than formerly: One is automation. The other is the 
increasing importance of research and development, much 
(although not all) of which is carried on most easily by large 
firms. Finally there is the computer which can be used to 
offset some of the diseconomies of large scale: The problems 
of organisation, arising from the complexity of lines of 
communication and interrelation of decisions which beset the 
large firm and lead to rigid cumbersome bureaucratic rule - 
these problems can indeed to some extent be solved by a suitable 
application of the computer.

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