Productivity and Debt, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Raúl Ilargi Meijer reaches the same conclusion as SLL for the US’s declining productivity and wealth: debt. From Meijer at

Earlier this week I was struck by the similarities and differences between two graphs I saw float by. And the thought occurred that they are as scary as they are interesting. The graphs show eerily similar trends. And complement each other. The first graph, which Tyler Durden posted, shows productivity, defined as more or less the same as GDP per capita. It goes all the way back to 1790 and contends that 2017 productivity is about back to the level it was at in 1790. In the article, Tyler suggests a link with the amount of time people spend on Instagram et al, but perhaps there is something more going on.

That is, America and Western Europe exported almost their entire manufacturing capacity to China etc. And how can you be productive if you don’t manufacture anything? Yeah, I know, ‘knowledge economy’ and ‘service economy’ and all that, but does anyone still really believe those terms? Sure, that may have worked for a while as others were still actually making stuff (and nobody really understood the idea anyway), but it’s a sliding scale. As productivity plunged, so did GDP per capita. We can all wrap our heads around that.

America’s Productivity Plunge Explained

For the first time since the financial crisis, US multifactor productivity growth turned negative last year, mystifying economists who have struggled to find something to blame for the fact that worker productivity is declining despite a technology boom that should make them more efficient – at least in theory. To be sure, economists have struggled to find explanations for the exasperating trend, with some arguing that the US hasn’t figured out how to properly measure productivity growth correctly now that service-sector jobs proliferate while manufacturing shrinks. But what if there’s a more straightforward explanation? What if the decline in US productivity measured since the 1970s isn’t happening in spite of technology, but because of it?

To wit, Facebook has just released user-engagement data for its popular Instagram photo-sharing app. Unsurprisingly, the data show that the average user below the age of 25 now spends more than 32 minutes a day on the app, while the average user aged 25 and older. The last time Facebook released this data, in October 2014, its users averaged 21 minutes a day on the app. According to Bloomberg, “time spent is an important metric for advertisers, which like to hear that users are browsing an app beyond quick checks for updates, making them more likely to run into some marketing.” Maybe they should matter more to economists, too.

To continue reading: Productivity and Debt


4 responses to “Productivity and Debt, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

  1. It would make a perfect example if you can examine Australian Economy. It led on that path of self-destruction.


  2. There’s another way of thinking here.
    What if it wasn’t a matter of the current economic environment in America is ready to collapse, but there are people every day who are joining the honorable resistance? They are getting right with their lives, becoming self determining and self sufficient, they are creating tangible wealth, learning new skills and trades, growing their own food, using and creating alternative and open source economics, from homespun, cottage industry, barter, trade, share cropping, going off grid, become agrarian people, raising their own meat animals, running solar wind and water power, living debt free, home schooling, system D, getting right with the lord.

    I look at it this way.
    Every day I create more self sufficiency. I’m defying the norms, rejecting the Matrix. Its open source revolution I’m saying.
    That economic model hardly effects me now, soon I hope to hardly notice if it goes down the crapper, because I’ve changed my thinking, and live more and more in a manner I do not have to depend on the economic model as my first, and even more so, 2nd line of resource.
    And there are people where I live who have joined the honorable resistance. To the point where others are most interested in how it works, what is required, and how they can husband and leverage their resources knowledge and thinking.


    • Good thoughts and good for you. I am moving that direction myself, although not as quickly as I would like.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Believe you me, it just takes time and perseverance. It never stops but there are increasing tangibles kind of like a dividend that pays you interest too.
        I think for many of us sometimes we don’t recognize we have the choice at first.
        Thing is you have to make the decision, make the choice and get busy living instead of slaving.
        You have to work to get and make things no matter what right?
        Either we work to line everyones but our pockets or we think common sense we work to pay ourselves.
        That right there is a large incentive for me. As a skilled labor person, a welder, there is only so much wealth I can create with my skills and labor. I’m just changed things around where I’m maximizing my investment in my lives skill sets and physical ability.
        And it is great. I have a great life, eat awesome home grown food, my time is my own, there the feeling of accomplishments, of having a built a safety net in an increasingly unsafe country.
        The stock market craps out tomorrow, It will barely effect me, i’ll have to change up some things, work harder physically, make do with some things, my “tribe”, we all will have to help each other more and combine resources. But there is built in contingency the more self reliant you are I think.
        It’s really interesting. The provincial/agrarian thing has much to it under the commonly known romance and accepted history, things “they” never talk about. But that may have as much to do with the epoch and culture as it does with intangibles and unknown unknowns.

        I believe if you look at philosophically, there is a reciprocity to self-sufficiency/determination where there is a circle to life on a couple levels you constantly create and or maintain. Lot of that includes on a level working with others of like mind.
        Right now, I’m on a few minute break from canning up deer meat and veggies out of the garden.
        the deer meat came from my niebhor who is growing corn for his cows. the deer get in it and eat the silk off the ears. That kills that ear of corn. One deer will eat hundreds of silks in a night. And there’s lots of deer. I suggested he get a kill order from fish & game. Bingo! 10 kill tags, turn those in, get 10 more, & so on. My neighbor drove me around on his side by side night before, I shot 8 deer. He gave me all the meat for my effort, and is delighted to beat the band. Last week I bagged 5 deer, same thing.
        Canned up over 87 quarts of deer meat & veggies. All from the land except jars lids and propane, salt & pepper.
        But it didm’t start there, or end there. There’s wild dogs up on this ridge from owners abandoning them out here. They regularly pack up and go after new born calves. I’ve taken out 3 packs of dogs in 2 years. They get really vicious these dogs, feral like. They kill everything. Your dogs, cats, chickens, cows you name it. They have no fear of men. Very nasty.
        I shot three who had my neighbors cow down at 4 am last spring. Got in our chicken coop and killed 5 hens week before. Then we went after them together. My neighbor was so relieved and we both had such a great experience, he offered his dozer and track hoe to me. I used that equipment to terrace my land that is mostly hill side and increase my garden space by 300%, built 3 roads for access, skidded out a years worth of cord wood I never could before because of the terrain, and a pond where a small creek crosses my land.
        We trade and help each other in a myriad of ways. Its automatic now, we look out for each other and its a full circle all the time.
        That has spread among our acquaintances, people see and hear that, if their of a mind they begin to get into the spirit of it. Its really cool. Its evolutionary more than revolutionary.


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