Peter Bloom and Caroline Clark look at
The cost of productivity
There is a relentless fear that countries and companies will fall into a productivity gap. However, we should be just as worried about the “productivity trap”, when policymakers and managers promote harmful policies in the name of maximising productivity at all costs.
The contemporary neoliberal mindset is particularly dangerous. It puts the responsibility for success squarely on the shoulders of individuals. This is unjust, and also very risky. Deeper structural issues are overlooked in the name of emphasising personal accountability. The ambition to make things better shifts to the game of figuring out who should take the blame. When no one and no organisation is ever productive enough, the emphasis is on managing failure, not transformational leadership.
There are other approaches. Many European countries – such as Germany and Sweden – experience high rates of productivity by providing citizens with greater worker rights, education opportunities, public infrastructure investments and social safety nets.