It's really weak ... like it was on the late 1970's. The NY Times helpfully gives us three theories:
- All "the good ideas" have been fully exploited -- computerization, outsourcing, management strategies, etc. It's not going to get better.
- It's just a measurement error -- we don't really know how to count the value of all the current "good stuff".
- We are "investing heavily" in new stuff like "driverless cars" that will come to fruition and "everything will be better".
I'll give you another theory. You can either focus on government solving everything, making everything "more sustainable" and dealing with increased regulation, bureaucracy and the potential for endless new government programs -- BOcare, "green" this and that, open borders, higher minimum wages, etc ... **OR** you create new productive innovations, create new industries that MAKE STUFF, invest in the private sector with reasonable confidence that there will be REAL GROWTH, and assume that government will increasingly GET OUT OF THE WAY.
Productivity stunk in the late 1970's and it stinks now since 2008 -- the first Carter administration sucked and the second one stunk worse -- we even labeled Carter II "BO".
When you have a country that allows cheap labor to stream in by the millions, why would you focus on "increased productivity"? Why did people innovate and come of with fracking and lateral drilling when oil prices were HIGH? Duh ... because it PAID OFF!
So when labor cost is a race to the bottom, the NY Times is "surprised" that investment in productivity is low? Perhaps they need to read Zero to One!
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