Productivity

Sun City or Sun Power: Early Retirement is Hurting America

July 20, 2012
| Blogs & Op-eds

Americans face a choice as a country: we can either keep focusing on maximizing present consumption, especially by older people, or we can focus on maximizing production so we can afford the critical investments in America. If fewer American’s retired early and if we raised the retirement age to 70, we’d have more money to invest in science needs in research, infrastructure and skills, and maybe discover solar power that’s cheaper than coal power.

When Markets Fail, Do We All Lose? The Evidence Isn’t As Clear As Reported

June 19, 2012
| Blogs & Op-eds

It may not have come as a surprise that a week ago, the Federal Reserve released a report showing how U.S. family wealth and income declined from 2007 to 2010. However, most mainstream media sources took a single statistic (changes in median wealth) from the over 80 page bulletin and ran away with the wrong message.

Bridges: Technology, Automation, and Innovation Create, Not Destroy, Jobs

May 25, 2012
| Blogs & Op-eds

The problem for the US economy – and the global economy, for that matter – is not that we have too much innovation; rather, we don't have enough of it. What's needed is not for the political class to denigrate technology, automation, or innovation, but to enact more aggressive innovation-supporting policies: everything from more generous R&D tax credits and greater federal investment in R&D to better education policies. The nations that will do best in the intensifying global race for innovation-based economic growth are those that embrace both innovation and creative destruction, while also putting in place effective public policies that empower society to cope with the rapid and ongoing changes brought by technology, automation, and innovation.

Listen to this article.

Note to Tom Friedman: Technology Creates, Not Destroys, Jobs

January 25, 2012
| Blogs & Op-eds

Tom Friedman's Op-Ed in The New York Times in which he argues technology is destorying jobs is essentially a flawed argument. There are three essential reasons for this. First, the economic evidence. It is unambiguous that higher rates of productivity lead to more jobs in the medium to long term, not fewer jobs. Second, the most serious challenge facing the U.S. economy over the next 25 years is the declining worker to population ratio as the baby boomers age. Finally, if we want to raise the living standards of Americans now holding low wage jobs, the best way to do it is to increase, not decrease, automation of these jobs. When a job can only produce 10 dollars an hour in value, there is no way to pay more than $10 per hour. If we can use technology to boost the productivity of many low wage, low productivity jobs, we can pay more for these jobs and workers who move out of these occupations can move into higher value added ones.

The rate of productivity in the construction industry has been steadily declining in the last few decades, proving the need for innovation in the industry.

The general perception of the construction industry productivity is declining -0.6 % per year (+1.8% per year non-farm productivity increase; significant improvement in some work processes). There has been much debate over the root cause of this decline. It can almost certainly be attributed to underinvestment in construction R&D, a shift in output mix, and slow growth in capital/worker ratio. Debate and uncertainty continue as no industry-level productivity measures exist. It is only with increased innovation that productivity in this essential industry is going to increase.

How to Fix America's Least Innovative Industry: Construction

The Atlantic
Construction is a fragmented field, where the people who design buildings are different from the people who construct them, who in turn are different from the people who operate them. And, on the whole, the industry invests just about nothing in R&D.

IT is the Foundation for Better Building

January 19, 2012
| Blogs & Op-eds

In a recap of a compelling ITIF event, Steve Norton reflects on the need to innovate in the construction industry. Construction is a physical undertaking of getting bricks, beams, pipes and glass to sites and putting them together but IT can help us better design, coordinate and revolutionize the process. When we start breaking new ground literally, we should also do so in our thinking and consider the economic footprint of a more productive and innovative construction sector.

Bricks and Bits: Transforming the Construction Industry Through Innovation

January 18, 2012 - 9:00am - 11:00am
National Press Club
529 14th Street Northwest
Holeman Lounge
Washington
DC
20045

Notwithstanding the current surplus in housing, over the next quarter century the U.S. will need to invest trillions of dollars in construction to meet the demands of a growing population and to refurbish aging infrastructure. Doing this efficiently will be critical to America’s economic future. Read more »

Bricks and Bits: Transforming the Construction Industry Through Innovation

January 18, 2012
With its vast holdings, the government has learned a thing or two about procurement and coordinating construction management and it plays a critical role in setting standards and undertaking industry-related R&D.

Notwithstanding the current surplus in housing, over the next quarter century the U.S. will need to invest trillions of dollars in construction to meet the demands of a growing population and to refurbish aging infrastructure. Doing this efficiently will be critical to America’s economic future. However, when benchmarked against America’s leading industries, the construction industry is anything but efficient. Indeed, measured growth in construction industry productivity has actually declined over the last two decades. Read more »

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