Ques: What do you think happened to the quality, variety, availability or cost of agricultural or manufactured products - or the level of competition?
Ans: Quality increased; variety exploded; availability dramatically; and cost reduced to the point where the average person may own products once only owned by the very rich. At the same time competition as increased dramatically. Consider the range of products in front of you - shirts; shoes, food, MBA degrees - how many competitors are competing for your business in each of those markets? Compare the purchase of a motor car around the turn of the 20th and 21st century. Few but the very rich could afford such a product around the 1900's. It would be hand made, usually to order and there would be few suppliers. The quality of the product may have been good but there have been significant variability in the quality of one car to the next. This variability is an important aspect of operations and will be considered again later in the text.