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What’s Really To Blame For The Productivity Slowdown

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The following is an excerpt from Robert J. Samuelson | December 7, 2016 | Thewashingtonpost.com |

Our thinking about productivity is cockeyed, according to a new economic report. We’re ignoring the real productivity problem: surging costs for health care, housing and education. We need to understand this argument, because it just might be correct.

Unless you’ve been vacationing on Mars, you know that productivity is the catchword for economic efficiency — and also that we’re facing a quiet productivity crisis. Gains in productivity have slowed to a crawl or stagnated. Unless they revive, prospects for higher living standards will fade or vanish.

The conventional solution is more innovation, driven by advances in science and technology. We need the equivalent of the invention of the computer chip or the Internet. Nope. That’s too simple, says economist Jonathan Rothwell, author of the report for Gallup, the polling firm.

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