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December 14, 2005


Marcin Tustin

Maybe we work less.

Andrew Duffin

One possibility you haven't mentioned, is that workers are spending more and more of their time on useless "compliance" activities, rather than running their businesses (or their employers' businesses) so that their harder work - if any - and their increased investment - which you have noted - is to some extent going to waste.

I have a theory that the increased productivity brought about by ever-cheaper PC's is almost entirely swallowed up by the fact that we now do pointless and wasteful things on the documentation and compliance fronts that would have been physically impossible in the age of the typewriter.

Hence we all have to work just as hard or harder, simply to produce the same amount of useful wealth.


As I have posted before - the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE have a stack of great papers on this. They really examine UK productivity gap well, and its good quality stuff. http://cep.lse.ac.uk/

Some of the productivity gap is down to the sector mix of the UK economy, and variable productivity performance therein. And then there's the long tail....

Another factor evidenced by about 5 years worth of employer skill surveys is that UK has a dual labour market. The best and most highly skilled are as good as the best in other countries, but the lower skilled occupations are poorly skilled - poor productivity, poor basic and core skills. And they are poorly paid. They are caught in a low productity, low wage and low training trap.

Of course the US can achieve economies of scale and scope much better than the UK too...

Generally within the UK foreign owned firms are stronger performers in terms of productivity than the UK too.

Paul Scargill

Approximately 1 in 4 workers in the country is employed in the public sector.

What the hell happened to economies of scale?

No wonder productivity is so woeful.

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