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One of the basic claims is that the rise in IT fueled the huge increase in productivity in the US over the past two decades. This is certainly an important factor for things like back office record keeping, transaction process and supply chain management.


But the aspect of the economy which has been ignored in the calculation is the shift from making physical "stuff" to dealing in information. A factory worker running a machine in an auto plant can just do so much per hour. Even when replaced by robots there are still limitations. So his productivity has a limit.

Actually I don't agree at all. IT has increased productivity extremely much in industry, at least in Swedish industry. Worker productivity has risen strongly in the steel works, paper mills, mines and refineries.

No one ever cares to check the statistics, but at least in this country it's in the industry where producutivity has increased most strongly, far quicker than in the private or public service sectors.

The logical conclusion of this is of course that the politicians do everything to destroy our industry and instead promote the "service" sector.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Mar 29th, 2007 at 12:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Sweden economy, from a macroeconomic POV, tends to pass benefits of higher productivity to the worker.  In the US the benefits are passed first to management and then to the stockholders.  

Also don't the industries you mentioned, in Sweden, generally produce for speciality and other niche markets where quality is important?    

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Mar 29th, 2007 at 08:04:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I hear about automation increasing worker productivity, I sometimes think of the productivity of a factory that only needs one worker -- huge, presumably.

In principle, a factory might need no workers at all. Would worker productivity then be infinite, the denominator having become zero?

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by technopolitical on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 03:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which brings up the question, "What are they producing so much better?"  Smog?  Barbie Dolls?  Incontinent Ordinance?  Cars?  

The business press is full of these gee-whiz, feel-good, statistics.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 06:00:03 PM EST
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