Monday, May 22, 2017

Productivity's new disguise..............

It’s possible that the productivity increases are appearing as lower prices rather than as higher incomes. If the price of oil falls from $100 per barrel to $50 per barrel due to increasingly cheap and efficient methods of production, then everybody in the industry is more productive in terms of barrels of oil per hour of work, but since the oil price has gone down, that productivity increase won’t be captured by statistical methods that calculate productivity in terms of money.
And that is just part of the larger story: that the extraordinarily deep and sustained collapse in the price of information is disguising the enormous increase in the productivity of everyone who works with the defining product of our time. ..At the same time, the collapse in the cost of information helps disguise the enormous increase in living standards for most people. 
-Walter Russell Mead, as collected from this essay

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