Let’s Be Less Productive

[Articles and opinion pieces published in this blog do not necessarily reflect the policies and opinions of the organizers of the International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas. They are posted here to stimulate discussion and debate on issues relevant to degrowth.]

By Tim Jackson , New York Times, 26 May 2012

Productivity — the amount of output delivered per hour of work in the economy — is often viewed as the engine of progress in modern capitalist economies. Output is everything. Time is money. The quest for increased productivity occupies reams of academic literature and haunts the waking hours of C.E.O.’s and finance ministers. Perhaps forgivably so: our ability to generate more output with fewer people has lifted our lives out of drudgery and delivered us a cornucopia of material wealth.But the relentless drive for productivity may also have some natural limits.

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2 Responses to Let’s Be Less Productive

  1. Pierre Champagne says:

    The economic growth/degrowh/unemployment dilemma has been solved. See http://wavesofthefuture.net/degrowth-sustainable-development-economic-de-growth-natural-resources.shtml

    To have a steady state economy (no growth) or even net total degrowth, incomes do not need to go down, neither does work need to be shared. If you add depopulation to the equation, you can actually have net degrowth while unemployment decreases (i.e. no work sharing) and salaries stay the same of go up.

    Decreasing productivity is the worse way to address the dilemma above. If you have two farmers doing the work that one can do, you forget that YOUR FOOD WILL COST TWICE AS MUCH!

    In fact, if you read the book, The Depletion Wall, increasing productivity is what would keep individual incomes the same or increasing if combined with depopulation.

    • Batarang says:

      Depopulation is a major piece of this puzzle, but the human animal instinct is strong. Thanks for the link, Pierre.

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