Friday, February 13, 2009

Climateer's "Quote of the Day": Productivity

From Minyanville:
Some Practical Productivity!

“I have written that what makes an economy and wealth grow is productivity. Don't think of wealth as more money, as the government wants you too (because they can always just create more of that); think of it as standard of living. I have illustrated how productivity makes standard of living/wealth rise.

But notice the government's plan of fiscal stimulus directly opposes productivity. Its objective is to create as many jobs as possible. But the definition of productivity is to do as little work as possible for the most output. So the objective of creating a lot of jobs is by definition unproductive

Everyone wants jobs and it is unfortunate that the is in this state. But we are here because we have borrowed future standard of living, living beyond our means. We now have to pay it back. Creating unproductive jobs will merely forestall that process.” --
Mr. Practical on Yesterday’s Buzz & Banter

I attempted to make a similar point (albeit less productively) regarding energy, in a comment on Environmental Capital's December 10 post "Green Jobs: Are They Just a Myth?":

The key to greencollar jobs is inefficiency. The more labor intensive the energy production the more people you will employ.

Doing a reductio ad absurdum, you would construct a human powered generator.
At a spacing of one meter, a 950 mile diameter wheel would employ five million people.
At 1/10 horsepower per person you would generate 3 million kWh/day.
Of course paying even the minimum wage gets your cost up to the $90.00 kWh range (i.e $80,000/month for the average home’s usage) but you’ve put 5mm folks to work.

This is an extreme example but the concept is pretty well fleshed out in the literature.

Comment by Climateer - December 10, 2008 at 11:49 am