Much ink is being spilled as people try to work out how to reconcile two conflicing economic statistics. GDP is still going down yet so is unemployment. If more people are employed they should be producing more thus GDP should be rising. Unless, of course, productivity is falling at the same time but that would be very odd indeed .
Finally, it is possible that falling productivity has been one of the many malign effects of the recession. If output per worker has dropped markedly, then it is possible to square rising employment with falling output, even though there has not yet been a really convincing explanation for why employees should have lost their skills or their motivation in such a profound way over the past five years. If both the GDP and the employment figures are correct, then productivity is dropping by more than 1% a quarter, a truly catastrophic performance.
The thing is though, this very odd indeed, this truly catastrophic performance, it's not a happenstance, some unlikely side effect of our current problems. This is actually planned, forced upon us even. It's deliberate.
Take, as an example, they way in which we are told that green energy is more jobs intensive. Without bothering to look up the numbers we're told that powering the country by nuclear plants employs 3 people, doing so with solar 50,000 and with windmills 2,000,000. There might be some exaggeration for effect there but we all have heard the story. Green energy will produce more jobs for the same amount of power. We are told this is a good thing.
Yet greater jobs intensity is exactly the same thing as falling labour productivity. If it takes 10 people to make a unit of electricity one way and 20 people another then the productivity of labour in producing electricity in the second method is half that in the first.
It's not just energy that is afflicted with this nonsense either. The usual suspects are similarly telling us that we must farm organically, something that requires more labour for the same output. That we should use small local shops instead of supermarkets: we're told we must do this because small local shops are more labour intensive: read lower labour productivity. We should purchase artisanal products, not mass manufactured ones: by definition, products with lower labour productivity. Every hand spun yurt knitted out of lentils is indeed more job intensive and thus lowers labour productivity.
Now quite how much of what we can see in the unemployment and GDP figures comes from this effect is another matter. But do understand the basic point. What even The Guardian calls a "truly catastrophic performance" is what the various greens and Greens are urging upon us as our future lifestyle. They want to lower labour productivity. They insist that it must happen.
They really are campaigning that we must all work harder in order to have less.
This is neither happenstance nor coincidence: this is enemy action.