How to improve national productivity

They say there are only two ways to produce sustained long term growth in the current material world:

  • Increase the number of workers employed, assuming any one new worker produces as much as any other existing worker – but this is severely limited because:
    • Birthrates, immigration constraints and right-skills availability restrict net increases
    • The world’s population is rapidly ageing as people live much longer, further restricting working population increases
    • And, on average, people are working fewer hours per week
  • Increase each existing worker’s productivity – here, there is considerable scope for improvement:
    • All organisations, whether in the public or private sectors, instal a suite of measures of all their KRAs – Key Result Areas – at present, most have only some 30% of what they need
    • All organisations then compare where they are now with internal and external best practices indicating where they could and should be
    • Managers of teams of workers act to:
      • Increase their skills/ knowledge levels
      • Increase their motivation levels
      • Improve systems used by processes and tasks, not least by cutting waste and optimising the use of existing resources
    • Senior managers put more investment into  finding and/ or adopting more productive new technology e.g. robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence)

 

The above actions enable organisations and so nations to ‘sweat their assets’ by getting the most out of their costly and limited resources by squeezing more/ better out of them and looking for the best returns on their capital invested

Continually reducing unit costs of existing goods and services whilst often increasing the quality of many of them, usually:

  • Increases demand and so sales revenue
  • Increases profits and so tax-take for more and better public services
  • Increases employee pay levels
  • Sometimes reduces employment levels in specific organisations
  • Increases discretionary incomes to pay for other goods and services not previously on shopping lists
  • Increases demand for new stuff, sometimes leading to the creation of whole new sectors e.g. IT
  • Increases job opportunities in these new sectors, usually by more than the jobs lost in older sectors

 

Conclusions:

  • Productivity improvement is the only way for most nations to aspire to a better standard of living and quality of life for all
  • Enormous improvements have been made since the Industrial Revolution
  • Compare living standards now v 20 v 50 v 100 years ago

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