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The curious case of missing global productivity growth

WORK smarter, not harder. It is one of the more irritating things that a boss can tell you. But at the macroeconomic level, it is important. Growth can come from having more labour (recruiting more workers, or making existing employees work for longer hours), more capital, or from using that labour and capital more effectively—something known as total factor productivity (TFP). This can come from the kind of brilliant innovations devised by Thomas Edison (pictured) or the less-heralded but equally important improvements such as the adoption of the moving conveyor belt to speed up assembly work. Since there are limits to the amount of additional capital and labour, productivity is key to long-run growth.

Measuring productivity is far from easy; it tends to be the residual left over when all other factors have been accounted for. The OECD says it “can often be a measure of our ignorance”. Still, the attached table is very striking. It comes from the American Chamber of Commerce (here’s the link, with thanks to…Continue reading Click Here For Original Source Of The Article

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Two big European makers of eyewear agree to merge

GIANT, cross-border mergers in Europe have been rare in recent years. Deals fail to happen even when mid-sized companies—such as family-owned and run specialist manufacturers in northern Italy or the Mittelstand in Germany—have the chance to gain global heft. For that blame founding owner-managers, many of whom are reluctant to lose control of treasured companies. Blame too an artisanal culture, particularly in southern Europe, in which firms’ owners say they are content to remain small and relatively obscure. Occasionally, too, nationalist politicians block efforts by perfidious foreigners to snaffle prized local brands.

Now, though, one of the largest-ever mergers in Europe actually looks set to go ahead. Luxottica, an Italian maker of fancy specs that was founded in 1961—it owns brands such as Ray Ban and Oakley—is to merge with Essilor, a spiffy French producer of lenses. The joint entity is set to combine Italian style with deft French engineering. The deal is supposed to be completed by the end of the year, creating a new entity with a market value of €46bn ($49bn), 140,000 staff and annual revenues of €15bn. It will be...Continue reading

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