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The UK might be more productive than everyone thought

Appaz statisticians forgot to include technology

Economist Kallum Pickering says Britain’s ‘productivity crisis’ has been exaggerated because everyone forgot to include all the cool stuff we gain from technology.

What it means: Economies are described as productive when they create a lot of output (anything of value, like money or happiness) without having to put in a lot of inputs (like hours of work or tons of effort). High productivity is considered important by people who think it’s a good measurement of how well-off people living in that economy are.

For years, the UK has been considered about as productive as a university student whose discovered their favourite bar is running an all-day Happy Hour. It has the lowest productivity of the G7, a group of rich countries. But Pickering thinks this might just be because statisticians have been doing the maths wrong.

He points out that we get a lot of value from digital technologies like Amazon and Netflix, which isn’t being counted in our output tally. His reasoning is that when you do something like use Google to prove all your mates wrong in the pub, everyone gains (smug satisfaction for you, knowledge for them) without having to put in much time or effort.

So the next time someone tells you off for obsessively binge-watching The Sopranos you can retort that you’re boosting the economy.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?