The Uses and Abuses of Measuring Productivity


  • Paul M. Sweezy
  • Harry Magdoff



Political Economy


A year ago in this space we analyzed the spurious nature of the alarms over what has been happening to U.S. productivity ("Productivity Slowdown: A False Alarm," MR, June 1979). Since then there has been no letup in the beating of the drums. It is now widely taken for granted, even within the ranks of labor, that productivity has in fact been declining and that this supposed decline is at the root of most of our economic ills. At the same time what is becoming increasingly clear is that the incessant propaganda around this question is being used to attack labor: to justify turning the clock back on conditions in the workplace.

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