Productivity Slowdown: A False Alarm


  • Paul M. Sweezy
  • Harry Magdoff



Political Economy


The recovery from the severe recession of 1974-1975 has been unable to solve two of the most persistent and oppressive diseases of the U.S. (and the world capitalist) economy. Employment did pick up as production advanced, but not enough to eliminate mass unemployment. And inflation keeps on going from bad to worse. What's wrong? Why can't something be done about these evils? A large part of the answer, according to our eminent thinkers and influential policy-makers, lies in a supposed slowing down of labor productivity: workers are simply not producing enough. Thus the New York Times lead story on January 26, 1979, introduced its description of the President's Annual Economic Report to Congress with the following opening sentence: "The Carter Administration told Congress today that lagging economic productivity had reduced the country's capacity to create more jobs and higher living standards."





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