The big challenge isn’t funding public services, it’s making them productive

There’s no shortage of special interest groups placing demands on the public purse. But with limited funds available, we must have an honest conversation about whose claims are the most valid. Waspi women are demanding a staggering £36bn in compensation for having been poorly informed about changes to their pension age. Meanwhile the National Foundation for […]

The big beasts of banking, supermarkets and tech are behind our productivity slump

The mystery of the dramatic slowdown in productivity growth across the West since the late 2000s remains unsolved. It is the key question in political economy. If productivity doesn’t rise, national income per head of population remains flat. As a result, government receipts from taxation remain static.   In the UK, where the limits to taxation […]

Monopolies hire too many pointless managers and kill off productivity growth

The need to increase productivity is of fundamental importance to the political economy of the Western democracies. As I’ve written, the causes for this slowdown in productivity eludes a consensus. The big tech companies are often seen as hives of innovation. But they might be responsible for at least part of the productivity problem. In […]

Creepy micromanagement won’t drive productivity — try trusting staff instead

Bored employees

Calling all employers: what was in your Christmas stocking? Did you find the latest gadget designed to enhance productivity? The innovative device, featured in the media during the festive season, is a toilet with a downward sloping seat. The company which makes it, StandardToilet, has conducted extensive tests. A slope of 13 degrees is exactly […]

Our automated future is brighter than Karl Marx or Mark Carney would ever suggest

Car factory

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, hit the headlines at the weekend, claiming that Marxism could once again become a prominent political force in the west. Automation, it seems, may not just destroy millions of jobs. For all except a privileged minority of high-tech workers, the collapse in the demand for labour […]

Does the productivity gap actually exist?


Whoever wins the election tomorrow will have to grapple with what appears to be a fundamental economic problem. Estimated productivity growth in the UK is virtually at a standstill. The standard definition of productivity is the average output per employee across the economy as a whole, after adjusting output for inflation – or “real” output, […]

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