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7 responses to “Productivity – the great non-problem of our time?”

  1. BilB

    Here is a question for you, Robert. What do nerdy kids sitting at home writing Android Apps do for National Productivity? I imagine that it is positive, but how would that be measured?

    The beauty of this type of activity is that it consumes near zero resources from a number of perspectives.

  2. Sam

    The beauty of this type of activity is that it consumes near zero resources from a number of perspectives.

    This statement is false from a number of perspectives.

    1. Their computers use electricity which is mostly made using non-renewable sources, some of which are grossly greenhouse polluting.

    2. The time they put in writing their apps is a resource in itself which could be used doing other things.

  3. Paul Norton

    Good post, Robert. However in mainstream and MSM discussion in Australia the term “productivity” is seldom used to refer to the sort of things discussed in your post. It is mainly used as a strategic euphemism by business groups and the Coalition to mean making workers work harder, longer and less securely, and putting in place the kind of IR regime to enable that to happen. From time to time Ross Gittens calls them out on this in his Fairfax columns.

  4. John D

    Measuring productivity in terms of output per man hour will tend to favour moving the old, the slow and the low skilled to the scrap heap even if this means that unemployment rises and total production actually drops.
    It makes more sense to measure productivity in terms of production per available man hour. There will be of course arguments about how “available” should be measured. My suggestion would be that it should be something quite simple like “40 hrs/week for everyone between 18 and 70.”
    Simple measures like this put pressure on the country to make best use of the partially disabled, not so bright etc. It also puts pressure on the education industry to stop selling padded out courses and pseudo qualifications that waste time that could be used productively.
    Quite a lot of the “productivity gains” in the eighties and nineties involved redefining jobs to favour the multi-skilled. In my patch people with dicky backs became unemployable because the “general duties” added to their job descriptions could not be done by someone with a dicky back. In other cases jobs that could be done by someone with junior high school qualifications were merged into “tradesman operator” jobs that required much more education.

  5. BilB

    Alright, Sam, I’ll bight.

    My App writing nerd leaves his laptop on 24 hours per day. This uses 1.5 kilowatt hours of electricity.

    I challenge you to find an income producing exploit that can be marketed to the entire world that uses less energy.

  6. nottrampis

    you have made it.

  7. nottrampis

    oh yes it is a great non-problem