Short Bytes: There are various reasons that have contributed to the decreased productivity of people over the years. One of them is the use of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. This has been the cause of the slowing economy of nations like the United States.
In the last century, the productivity numbers on the US soil increased at a pace of around 2.3% a year, but the last five years have observed a snail-paced productivity growth of less than 0.5% a year. Productivity is essential for most of the people and it “is the well from which wages come and wages are, for most people, the well from which their standard of living comes,” says Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton.
Professor Blinder says that the output per hour is directly related to the standard of living of an individual. The more work one does more money comes in and it elevates the standard of living. “It takes about a generation or so to double your income,” he says. Due to the productivity boost in the last century, the standard of living escalated (almost double) with every next generation.
What factors are stopping people from being more productive?
One reason put forward by Blinder is the lack of proper apparatus for the workers. Companies are not equipping their workers with modern machines and better work environments.
Another thing that needs to be considered is that companies, although, earning great profits, aren’t investing much. Even if the money can be borrowed. The wounds of the Great Recession might be making them reluctant to do so. “Well then how come they’re hiring so many people?” asks Blinder.
Economist Robert Gordon has a viewpoint on that. The reason is the absence of any breakthrough technology – like jet engines, electricity, etc in the past century. These things are important in increasing the productivity of the workers.
As far as the IT and computers sector is concerned, Gordon says that “the main benefits of the IT revolution have already occurred. There are just not as many fruitful ways to invest.” Since the 1990s, the investments in this field have been on a downward track. “And my diagnosis is that people have the computers they need,” says Gordon.
We can agree with what Gordon says. There is a saturation point in the computers, and most recently, mobile phones. Every year, the devices come stuffed with a powerful processor and some extra ram, and a bunch of sensors.
Now, the reason which most of us would ignore to acknowledge is the impact of social networking in our work lives. We can’t resist replying to a facebook comment or like an Instagram photo. People do manage to steal some minutes of their rather “busy” schedule to make a few posts on a variety of social accounts they operate.
“Things like … tweeting, Snapchatting, things that to me are unlikely to raise industrial productivity and may, by the way, reduce that. I’m thinking of things like Facebooking when on the job and other things like that,” says Blinder.
The social media along with other smartphone apps designed to make our lives simpler might be the reason we face trouble in reaching the work deadlines, reducing productivity. This may’ve lead to the growth slowdown in the US. In fact, we can relate it to other countries as well.
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