This is just so wonderful from the Senior Lecturer

So wonderful that I actually agree with him:

Lastly, let me be clear that to measure productivity across the most able, or only those at work, is a particularly futile exercise that clearly suggests that you think only those undertaking some particular activities in society are of worth. We are not just a working population in the UK. We are a population as a whole. If you think productivity measures have changed because we have rising employment that offers opprtunity to some previously denied it then it is not productivity that is at fault, but it is the measurement that is to blame. Those people now at work were previously in the population but denied the chance of employment. If that meant they were excluded from productivity calculations as a result that just shows that the calculations were wrong: the measure should have always been across those able and willing to work, and not just those able to find it. It would seem that you are unable to appreciate this obvious point and yet as a politician you are meant to represent all in society and not just those at work.

Indeed, let us measure these things over the population, not by those in work.

When we do we find that France has a higher output per hour worked – as people keep whining about when we discuss productivity. And when we measure over the whole population, as we do when we look at GDP per capita, we find that that for the UK is higher than that in France.

Or, as is the standard neoliberal baby-eater comment about European productivity levels, their numbers look good because the marginally productive aren’t working and here they are.

Hmm. D’ye think that Ritchie has the nous to realise what he’s just said?

23 comments on “This is just so wonderful from the Senior Lecturer

  1. You can’t lump all European countries together like that. France is an easy target: it excludes many low-productivity workers from the workforce.

    Germany is a very different story. Its productivity numbers outshine ours by over 20%; yet unemployment in Germany is actually lower than in the UK.

  2. You can’t lump all European countries together like that. France is an easy target: it excludes many low-productivity workers from the workforce.

    Germany is a very different story. Its productivity numbers outshine ours by over 20%; yet unemployment in Germany is actually lower than in the UK.

    Not just France. Look at the unemployment rates in Spain, Greece, the youth unemployment rates in Italy. Germany looks the more likely outlier.

  3. Andrew M makes a good point, though the last time we had a bbc piece on this they mentioned both France and Germany as outperforming uk. It matters the distinction is made now , before Labour get in and raise productivity by going the France route rather than the German one.

  4. “Hmm. D’ye think that Ritchie has the nous to realise what he’s just said?”

    Hmm, rhetorical question, right?

  5. And this one -“why are the French so productive”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ky3xp

    TLDR Hypermarkets, having more holidays, more monitoring, more infrastructure. “French workers are expensive” means more investment, work harder and monitored and incentivised more. It fesses up 21mins in to the unemployment part making the figures flattering. But given that doesn’t apply across the Rhine why isn’t the investigation on Germany rather than France?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ky3xp

  6. There’s another reason, too. Any money spent by the government is simply added to the GDP figure, pound for pound (or euro for euro). So all those tens of thousands of useless fonctionnaires snoozing away in the prefectures and La Poste are deemed “productive” to the precise tune of their cost to employ. In other words, if the British government wanted to increase GDP and hence productivity, it should simply hire another few million people to sit and do fuck all in the public sector on healthy salaries. Oh hang on: Blair and Brown already did that.

  7. Snippa seems to be saying disabled people in work are on average more productive.
    I don’t think he gets concepts like a disability is something that shifts the bell curve left. He’s presuming they have the same shape of talent pool as the wider population but with the most incapable not included and thinks this shifts the rest of the curve right.

  8. Even people like Ritchie and other socialists get the occasional thing right. Usually for the wrong reasons though.

  9. Disabled people in work will affect productivity.
    Same as anyone else affects productivity. There will be other factors affecting productivity more.

  10. Rob,
    Germany isn’t that much of an outlier. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria all beat the UK on productivity, and only Belgium has higher unemployment.

    The rest is two sides of the same coin. Yes, we’re better than Southern Europe; but we’re worse than most of Northern Europe. Why is that?

  11. “Germany is a very different story. Its productivity numbers outshine ours by over 20%; yet unemployment in Germany is actually lower than in the UK.”

    Helped in no small part by having an artificially low currency.

  12. @ Martin
    Disabled people in work rather than on ESA increase GDP. Any formula that produces a statistic to say otherwise is junk.
    I used to work for a company with a blind lawyer – his productivity increased the national average so, yes, it did, as you say, affect productivity.

  13. On the statistical reasons for a higher figure (which aren’t as interesting but need to understand before culpepper’s damn fools want to do something about it. )

    UK NHS maybe? Quite big so could have an effect. Is that perhaps a reason? As Tim N says …counted as 1for1 in UK and actually private in France (though state funded)

  14. “…but we’re worse than most of Northern Europe. Why is that?”

    My hunch is that it’s much harder to raise productivity in service industries than it is in non-service industries. Also, the NHS.

    I’d like to see international productivity comparisons by sector. Is UK manufacturing so must less productive than French manufacturing?

    Japan has a public sector noted for low productivity, but high productivity in manufacturing.

  15. Since one can’t, in general, measure the productivity of a fonctionnaire, they should be looked upon as a cost on the nation. Thus

    – compute/discover/collect the raw GDP
    – remove the cost of all fonctionnaires from that figure, reducing it
    – compute GDP per capita.

  16. Someone once told me that in Germany, lots of housewives don’t work. That it’s a bit culturally different like that. Less housewives with part-time jobs is going to throw the numbers as well.

    What’s the rate of non-employment (as opposed to unemployment) in Germany before we start declaring them the Master Race.

  17. No-one who’s worked in services in Germany or France as well as the UK will believe that they are significantly superior in ‘productivity’ (as generally understood, rather than the technical economics sense). But many will read continual headlines about poor productivity in the UK and assume UK workers must be feckless, or management must be useless (not that we don’t have feckless workers and useless managers, just that there are at least as many to be found on the continent).

    And, of course, if Sterling drops 10% against the Euro, German industry appears 10% more ‘productive’ – this doesn’t mean the production line workers at BMW are twirling their spanners 10% faster.

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