Welcome to the dehumanizing world of scientific management, where business gurus and middle managers view workers as resources, and where a cult-like devotion to productivity has invaded almost all facets of daily life.
Radical changes are needed if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change: 2 trillion dollars of fossil fuel related capital investment has to go. Without a better understanding of the basic relationships between energy and production it is hard to say how such changes will play out in the wider economy, and almost impossible to prepare to face them.
New research demonstrates – again – how deceptive the concepts of productivity and efficiency are in agriculture. Huge increases in labor productivity and modest increases in land productivity are gained by a massive increase of use of external resources, while natural capital is depleted. Is that efficient?
As societies expand their service sectors, it is inevitable that overall productivity growth will decline. And that can mean that overall economic growth will tend to decline as well. We have certainly seen progressively slower growth in mature world economies over time, particularly since the 2008-2009 recession.
The high energy prices of the last decade or so may be, in part, responsible for low productivity growth. And yet, in a sampling of recent coverage of the productivity issue, not one piece mentioned energy.