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Holding back our productivity

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, April 14th, 2016 - 72 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, economy, wages - Tags: , , , , , ,

Productivity is commonly defined as a ratio between the output volume and the volume of inputs. In other words, it measures how efficiently production inputs, such as labour and capital, are being used in an economy to produce a given level of output.”

New Zealand has had low productivity for decades, and it shows no sign of catching up with other OECD countries. Why? It isn’t from a lack of hard work. As reported in 2013:

Kiwis work longer, produce less, says Commission

On average, New Zealanders work 15 per cent longer than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development as a whole and produce about 20 per cent less output per hour worked, according to the commission’s report ‘Productivity by the numbers: The New Zealand Experience’….

An interesting piece (by Fiona Rotherham) on Stuff yesterday throws some light on the matter:

New Zealand productivity still lags

A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says New Zealand still has a large productivity gap (27 per cent) to other OECD countries because of a lack of investment in “knowledge-based capital” and international connections.

It says New Zealand’s policy settings should generate gross domestic product per capita 20 per cent above the OECD average, but we are actually more than 20 per cent below average. This affects New Zealanders’ income and wellbeing and comes in spite of the economic upswing.

Distance is one important factor:

More than half of New Zealand’s productivity gap relative to the OECD average is explained by weaknesses in our international connections. … While not much can be done about its distance to markets, New Zealand’s two-way trade flows could be altered to reduce its impact.

But there are others:

…the OECD work finds the gap reflects weakness in knowledge-based capital which has become increasingly important in driving productivity gains in the digital age. Knowledge-based capital ranges from things like product design, inter-firm networks, research and development, and organisational know-how. While New Zealand ranks well in software investment and trademarks, the amount of R&D undertaken by the private sector is among the lowest in the OECD.

Our private sector is not pulling its weight on R&D. Furthermore:

Cross-country surveys also show the quality of management is below average in New Zealand, which lowers productivity gains from new technology.

So, our below average management is not investing enough in R&D and not dealing with the challenges of our distances to markets. This is not the first indication that the country is held back by poor management. Much as they like indulge in their own self importance and tell the rest of us how things should be done, our “business leaders” are doing an objectively poor job.

Perhaps instead of insulting Kiwi workers as “pretty damned hopeless”, Bill English should be taking aim at these captains of industry.



And of course, what productivity gains there are never seem to filter through to workers:

wage and productivity gap

72 comments on “Holding back our productivity ”

  1. TepidSupport 1

    I think we need to take some notes from China and India on developing a “knowledge” economy and opening ourselves up to new and innovative ways.
    BUT. We also have to realise we will have much greater gap between wages and productivity here as we *care* for our workers and don’t pay slave wages like those economies either.

  2. TopHat 2

    I must admit when I returned to New Zealand, my work ethic crumbled .
    I would bounce out of bed in the morning and think, ‘hmm $20 an hour…” and go back to bed.

    I didn’t train and work overseas ( no student loans.) to return and not have my efforts rewarded at all.
    People here do not appreciate their employees, seeing them as mere tools to exploit.
    So in view of all that I am not surprised our production down the sink as with our work ethic.
    A proper days work = a proper days pay.

    • vto 2.1

      Yep.

      Free market in action.

      Employers can’t deal with the free market.

      Farmers can’t deal with the free market.

      pussies

      • Internationalrescue 2.1.1

        Employers deal successfully with the free market every day. We have a labour market with too many jobs and not enough matching workers, so employers have an incentive to recruit and pay well. A free market generated incentive.

        • Stuart Munro 2.1.1.1

          Massive milk powder exports? So 1960s.

        • vto 2.1.1.2

          No, they don’t deal successfully with the free market every day….

          evidence one – farmers recruiting from low-paying third world countries.

          evidence two – Queenstown accommodation operators doing the same.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.1.1.3

          ” employers have an incentive to recruit and pay well”

          Or alternatively, lobby the government to manipulate wages downward by importing cheap labour and passing legislation to reduce worker’s rights.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.4

          The free market also generates incentives for R&D, staff training, and high levels of education. Other countries recognise this, and act accordingly. Here, the National Party sells legislation and pretends that Jenny Shipley earned her directorships on merit.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.5

          Employers deal successfully with the free market every day.

          And plenty of employers will tell you how fucked up it is, every day.

          By the way, you’re dreaming if you think your fairy tales of the ‘benefits of the free market’ hold any water today. Maybe in the 1980s when the theory was all flashed up to sound good to the masses.

          Too many of us now know your lies through hard experience.

        • saveNZ 2.1.1.6

          @Internationalrescue –

          “We have a labour market with too many jobs and not enough matching workers, so employers have an incentive to recruit and pay well. ”

          In spite of 67,000 new migrants into NZ this year alone, the skilful NZ manager still find under National’s rule that they can’t fill all those new ‘jobs’.

          what a joker you are…

          • Thom Pietersen 2.1.1.6.1

            Most migrants are not skilled labour – they are property investors – for the former the pay does not match the living costs anymore. And too many baby boomer employees are holding down salaries on the back of their property windfall fucking the rest of us up the arse… They’ll die in comfort after a few world cruises and leave the debt for the next generation – absolute selfish c*nts!

        • adam 2.1.1.7

          ” I sometimes wonder if austerity might be less of an ideology and more of a pathology.” Frankie Boyle

          I think poor Internationalrescue has gone a long way to prove that today.

    • RedLogix 2.2

      @TopHat

      As a kiwi working in Aus at the moment I can only 100% endorse what you are saying. In the few short years here I’ve achieved more than I was ever allowed to do in 30 years working in NZ.

      Way more.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Too many “business” “success” stories are in fact an indication of Cabinet Club membership: the National Party manufactures incompetence.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Too many “business” “success” stories are a result of policy settings that dis-empowers everyone that doesn’t have money and connections

  4. Whispering Kate 4

    Why did we do away with apprenticeships where an employer took on a young person, educated them on the job for 5 or so years – where has that employer responsibility gone? Why do these young kids now have to pay their own way through Tech, end up with debt and be expected to arrive on the job up and running? Why is it common now for employers to contract out their staff and expect them to do their own tax, pay their own health insurance etc, buy their own utes and their tools, what do employers do these days?

    Also with degrees at university, why is there a degree now for everything – once upon a time an employer took on someone with a good general degree, mentored them in the job and trained them up, now they expect people to be fully trained by university lecturers in the many specialised degrees offered so they are primed and ready for work. Even Bob Jones has said he always employed people with a good Humanities Degree as they were taught to think outside the square and had independent thought, he said he wanted to train them the way he wanted them so they would be flexible to learn from him. Employers seem to want it every which way.

    No wonder some young people feel non responsive to work, indebted with loans and paid low wages its stands to reason they aren’t too enthusiastic to be up at the crack of dawn, working 60+ hours a week for coolie rates. Because our employment ethics are poor its no wonder we have become a nation of small businesses, no-one it seems wants to be working for a boss these days, I can see why. Shame on Bill English, he has been at the tax payers trough all his working life, he wouldn’t understand at all about being on poor wages. He should be sacked.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Why did we do away with apprenticeships where an employer took on a young person, educated them on the job for 5 or so years – where has that employer responsibility gone?

      Why do these young kids now have to pay their own way through Tech, end up with debt and be expected to arrive on the job up and running?

      Employers decided that it was costing them too much and that the employee should now pay for it thus we got tertiary school fees and student debt.

      Why is it common now for employers to contract out their staff and expect them to do their own tax, pay their own health insurance etc, buy their own utes and their tools, what do employers do these days?

      Because shifting all of the expenses on to the employees is an effective way to cut costs and thus boost profits. Also, contracting is a great way to decrease wages as people compete against each other from a precarious position meaning that they will take whatever income they can get.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 4.1.1

        Not forgetting of course that in the golden period of apprenticeships most of them were done by the state – not the private sector.

        Hospitals had their own electricians and carpenters and took on apprentices, places like the railways and Ministry of Works produced electricians, and boiler makers and electricians, carpenters, builders and so on and so on.

        Many of those people would go on to have successful private sector businesses – all courtesy of the training they got in the public service.

        The free market was never going to deliver the future volumes.

        Bit like housing – it’s not just housing New Zealand houses that have vanished into the free market it’s the housing the workers had – single mens quarters on the railways, Ministry of Works, Education, railway housing – all vanished in the cause of privatization and replaced with shite housing for high rentals and ever increasing house prices.

        The private sector only likes market forces in their favour – market forces that say we don’t want to work for you cause you treat us as disposable and pay us poor money apparently don’t exist.

  5. ianmac 5

    Kate, “once upon a time an employer took on someone with a good general degree, …”
    The thrust from Joyce is to abandon University courses for Arts degrees and if he had his way only job specific courses would be allowed. Jones would employ a degree on Philosophy over any other.

  6. Whispering Kate 6

    Ianmac, I always understood that university was for furthering your education, not a training place for work. A person with a good general degree can work in many fields. I have a relative who has an MA Hons in Art History and now holds a very senior position in an American Bank and is doing very nicely too I might add. Its not a lifestyle I would like for myself but it justifies what I am saying, people who have extended university educations are adaptable for many careers. This Government is lazy, it only has time for its cronies and to hell with everybody else. They punish people just because they can, sadistic lot if you ask me. Our poor wage economy is wrecking this country, people deserve to be able to take home a living wage at the very least.

    • ianmac 6.1

      I know a young woman who did MA specialising in Greek History. She now manages a horse stud farm in Britain.
      My son has a BA in History and is Logistics Manager in a large wine making firm. So yes. I think Joyce is starking mad. And dangerous for the health of our society. I do suspect that a person who has a single-minded degree in say Engineering, may not have the flexibility of thought to tackle problems out of the norm. Depends on the individual I guess.

      • AB 6.1.1

        ” I think Joyce is starking mad.”
        If he really means what he says then indeed he is – also a vulgar, ignorant, philistine, embarrassment.
        However I think his opposition to arts degrees is that he sees people who learn about their history and culture often become lefties, and it doesn’t suit him.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          However I think his opposition to arts degrees is that he sees people who learn about their history and culture often become lefties, and it doesn’t suit him.

          People who learn history will generally oppose the machinations of those who still try to exploit their fellow people.

    • saveNZ 6.2

      +1 Whispering Kate – within the Information Technology community most of the most creative and successful people actually have other degrees than information technology.

      Degrees and knowledge need to be tailored to what the individual is best at, not what they speculate will bring them the most money in future years (that they often do not enjoy).

      The most important thing NZ could be doing is encouraging much higher university and KEEPING or REEMPLOYING those people back in NZ (on real wages).

      As for Singapore they have their own problems with their ‘test’ culture, one of which is that although they score so well in maths, their graduates are not confident enough to start a new business and so have much less patents that other countries compared to their results!

      It seems the old Kiwi way of creative learning that created some of our great NZer’s and NZ as one of the best education systems in the world. (but now biting the dust under a barrage of testing of infants and primary school kids under National’s rule that has completely been discredited all around the world….)

      In my view, NZ has the talent, but not the government will or skill to actually create NZ into a knowledge economy. I mean they feel they can’t even train a chef or milker or fruit picker in NZ so how in hell are they going to create and retain someone with skills to transform our economy?

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    New Zealand has had this same problem for 30 years: too little capex, too much reliance on cheap labour for “competitiveness” (yet another neoliberal code word), a government which believes that watery market mechanisms are going to change things.

    Tax breaks on R&D anyone? Useless. We’ve had a discussion on what Singapore has done to get where they are. There, the Singapore Government has poured billions of dollars into advanced biotech/biological sciences centres. That’s where they see the future.

    Here is Helen Clark on “Catching the Knowledge Wave” – back in 2001:

    SIAC report: setting an innovation framework

    The council, chaired by a leading figure in management and industry, Rick Christie, was appointed last year by Helen Clark to provide advice on how to best position New Zealand as a knowledge-driven economy and society…

    Helen Clark said the report by SIAC was an important element in the government’s commitment to economic transformation aimed at fulfilling a vision of a more innovative, skilled, creative and enterprising nation.

    The government is now seeking feedback from across all sectors on the seven challenges identified in the report, called An Innovation Framework for New Zealand, as work continues towards the production of an action plan.

    The seven challenges outlined in the report are:

    * Reward ‘can do’, risk taking and success
    * Educate for a knowledge economy
    * Become a magnet nation for talent
    * Generate wealth from ideas and knowledge
    * Excel globally
    * Network, collaborate and cluster
    * Take an investment-driven approach to government

    Helen Clark said it was critical to engage with a wide range of New Zealanders over the report so that a shared vision emerged on how to secure the country’s future success.

    “The report sets the goal of building within the next twelve months a national movement for revitalising our economy with the support of business, educators, local government and other community leaders.

    “As the report notes, innovation provides New Zealand with the best opportunity to lift its game. It is about making ourselves more visible in a crowded world.

    “But as we work through the process of fleshing out the framework that is being presented today, the government will continue the work it has begun on transforming the economy. There is simply no time to waste.

    All sounds good doesn’t it? In retrospect, this was another case of more reports and more consultation and more flashy “frameworks” while countries like Singapore just got on with the job.

    My guess is Te Papa got more funding from that Government than new high tech initiatives.

  8. Dean Reynolods 8

    Every 5 years the NZ Institute of Management takes part in an international survey of management expertise around the world. The last time the survey was taken, the skill of NZ managers ranked lower than that of India. For 30 years we’ve been fed this neo liberal BS that the ‘free market’ produces rugged, efficient employers. It doesn’t – it produces lazy bosses with short term, greed driven goals.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      +1

    • BM 8.2

      Problem with most NZ managers is that they haven’t being trained in the people side of management, they tend to get selected as managers because of their technical skill, but that’s only halve the equation.

      That wasn’t so much of an issue 25 years ago because you could rely on your staff to get on with it and get the job done without having to be checked up on every 5 minutes.

      These days that lack of people skills and productivity knowledge is really creating an issue as younger employees tend to be easily distracted, prone to lose focus and not do their job .

      This requires managers to be constantly checking on them and trying to motivate them to do their job without the employee going into sulk mode.

      • saveNZ 8.2.1

        Dream on there BM, with this Natz bullshit.
        Funny how under the Natz where Kiwis were formally thought of as hard workers and used to be well liked in the UK and pretty much anywhere, now in 8 years of Natz rule we are now described by English as “pretty hopeless as workers’.

        I guess the 67,000 migrant workers being imported in per year under National are filling up the slack by lazy locals… sarc.

      • AB 8.2.2

        Don’t agree – my experience is that the best way to de-motivate and drive people away is to be constantly checking on them. High performance workplaces come from giving trust and autonomy.
        Also in my experience HR people are absolutely the worst at this – their training in the “people side” seems to make them more dangerous than anyone else.

        • Wensleydale 8.2.2.1

          Largely because HR exists to protect the company from their workers, not as some delusional souls believe, as a shoulder to cry on when the stress of the daily grind becomes too much. They are the gatekeepers and the hatchet wielders; experts in legalese, and navigating the dangerous ground between what they can get away with relatively unscathed, and what will likely result in a PR disaster or a workplace mutiny. The business ethics classes they took in university were generally surplus to requirements.

          • miravox 8.2.2.1.1

            “Largely because HR exists to protect the company from their worker”

            Yup. It’s in the name. If HR was there for humans, they wouldn’t be calling them resources.

        • Colonial Viper 8.2.2.2

          Hence the cartoon character Dogbert.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.2.2.3

          Dilbert

      • McFlock 8.2.3

        Yeah, well looking at the chart, in that 25year period productivity has increased by about half and wages by what – 10 or 20%?

        Not much stake in working so hard, is there…

      • Thom Pietersen 8.2.4

        BM… in my industry I have to disagree with you – managers do not get selected for their technical skills, they get selected because they are ‘show ponies’ that take credit for financial return, they might originally have a technical background in training but they use that for status to move them forward with gift of the gab and brown nosing. But I agree they have no ‘man’ agement skills with people.

        The thing is, it’s simple, we are judged purely on a bean counting basis, if you cannot report back in the purist format on this basis you’re screwed. No one trains anymore and no one learns therefore the technical problems are just pushed around until you can find someone to be the fall guy.

        The outcome of this, for any young person becomes demotivated quickly because the future is uninspiring crap.

        The young being distracted thing, it more to do with what’s the point? – NZ is a cheap skate, cost cutting, disillusioning shithole full of half arsed mediocre business – get into property and make your millions!

        We are aksuhally f*cked!

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    It says New Zealand’s policy settings should generate gross domestic product per capita 20 per cent above the OECD average, but we are actually more than 20 per cent below average.

    If people think that the policy settings should be producing a result and they’re not then their belief in the policy settings are wrong. Physical reality trumps delusion every time.

    Our private sector is not pulling its weight on R&D.

    Neither is our government. No country has ever developed their economy without the government doing a hell of a lot of basic research. You know, the hard stuff that doesn’t make a profit but can then be applied to make new products that do.

    Then there’s the fact that NZ is a small country and we can’t afford for individuals to compete in manufacturing. What that means is that the government needs to build and own factories that our entrepreneurs can then use to produce the products that they design.

    Considering how well 3D printing is developing (Rocket Lab use 3D printing to produce rocket engines) then the government needs to be researching and developing manufacturies that use 3D printing. The effect of these will be to eliminate economies of scale as the factory will be able to produce everything and thus will be in use 24/7 (with time down for maintenance).

    They should also look to developing our own resources and processing them so that we’re not reliant upon importing raw resources.

  10. NZJester 10

    Lack of investment in proper maintenance of machinery could also be a big factor with the longer hours and lower productivity.
    I have worked in a place with workers standing around for anywhere from half hour to two hours while a machine is repaired. It happened 3 times to me. Not to mention lots of little 1 minute breaks every few hours while something jammed was removed to unblock the flow of the goods through the factory.
    An older worker told me how they used to have a much more regular maintenance schedule and a breakdown was very uncommon. Now that the machines are serviced less often and there are less maintenance staff there are a lot more breakdowns.
    Getting rid of some of the maintenance staff was obviously a false cost saving measure.
    I could go into this in more detail, but New Zealand being a small place if I was more specific the place I worked at might be identified.

    • saveNZ 10.1

      Hello there NZJester, pretty much everything you buy these days in made in China or the like for slave wages. And surprise surprise it’s shit and 50% of what you buy does not work, is already missing a part, or only lasts the 1 year of warranty.

      Not to mention that under neoliberalism, the company should not be expected to invest in their workforce as the mantra is the ‘individual’ is the sole beneficiary apparently. So they don’t bother training anyone anymore, they just import someone in, or keep the old people going. Young people apparently are not keen to work for minimum wages when it costs more for 1 hr car parking in Auckland than for 1 hour of work in some cases.

      And the cronyism and waste. Why worry, because friends of friends get the contracts to everything and are untouchable. Look at the super city IT, over 1 billion and not really anything being done about it, because National and the new Super city structure will just cream it off the ratepayers some more.

      Vector, water treatment and so forth. Water meters went from being $500 to $12,000, if something goes wrong with power you have to wait for Vector to turn up (through multiple companies clipping the ticket and adding to the time frames and complexity).

      The whole country of NZ is running down. Money is only coming into NZ through migration but the cost is, that NZer’s are losing control and becoming tenants in our own country and of our former businesses.

      If you think of a farm, and it is going bankrupt through mismanagement but the farmer just keeps selling off a little chunk each year to keep the bills paid, and borrowing a whole lot more to pay it’s bills. But eventually the farmer is left with a lot of debt and does not even own the farm. That is what the National party has been doing to NZ.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        If you think of a farm, and it is going bankrupt through mismanagement but the farmer just keeps selling off a little chunk each year to keep the bills paid, and borrowing a whole lot more to pay it’s bills. But eventually the farmer is left with a lot of debt and does not even own the farm. That is what the National party has been doing to NZ.

        That started in the 1980s under the 4th Labour government. Hasn’t really stopped since although it decreased under the 5th Labour government.

        We’ve, essentially, stopped investing in ourselves and have started selling ourselves into slavery instead as we sell off industry, land and public assets and businesses.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      Yep, seen that as well. As I was a middle manger at the place I complained about it to try and get it fixed. By the time I moved on nothing had happened.

      It’s not just maintenance either. Cost cutting is causing all sorts of problems across a range of areas within businesses. Using the wrong equipment or even no equipment, getting someone to make something up rather than just going down the road and buying a pre-made unit etc, etc.

      In NZ managers are cutting costs to the detriment of the business. And when they don’t get the expected increase in profits they cut costs even more making it even worse.

  11. Shifty 11

    So this is what my mum faces every day when she goes to work. Anecdotally, none of this is new, well, to us plebeians anyway. To see it formalised really makes for depressing reading. Why do we permit such stupidity? The 1% are totally uneconomical and I’m tired of the props from 1% wannabes. Its enough to stir me into action…but what action to take?

    • Stuart Munro 11.1

      Defenestration is one of the traditional responses to non-performing democratic leaders – unfortunately a factor that played a part in the design of the Beehive.

      But if we want to rebuild national productivity, co-ops are the way to go. No-one has monopoly power and there is an incentive to share knowledge and support development. No parasitic ‘elite’ class in a co-op, bet the Fonterra farmers wish they didn’t have a parasite group in theirs.

  12. The lost sheep 12

    I’m presuming all the experts commenting here are currently running brilliantly managed innovative research focused companies, that are achieving fantastic levels of productivity?

    Or is the Government preventing you?

    • McFlock 12.1

      actually, I’m working for a good organisation that has significantly boosted its productivity and nationwide impact over the last five years, as have all its employees.

      And yet I still don’t get quite enough to service a mortgage.

      The main reason I chose to stay this year was because it makes the country a better place. But financialy – nah.

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        Which is wrong. In my last role in NZ I generated documented productivity gains in excess of $900k pa over a period of years. Even got written up in industry journals.

        Pay still sucked dirt. And I was one of the better off ones.

        • McFlock 12.1.1.1

          yep.

          I sure wasn’t bitching – I’m one of the better-off ones in my social group.

      • The lost sheep 12.1.2

        I know a lot of companies that have significantly sharpened their games over the last few years McFlock. IMO all this anecdotal bullshit above is, well, bullshit from people who wouldn’t know how to run a sausage sizzle, but are experts at moaning about how the Government should be doing it for them.

        I appreciate your comment about the level of remuneration in NZ, but am interested because I employ a few high end people who would certainly be earning far more if they had stayed in AUST / USA / UK / Sweden etc.
        Some of them tell me that they work here because the net costs v wages thing means they have a better quality of life here than if they were home, and some of them tell me that there are some aspects of quality of life here that they simply couldn’t buy at home.

        Which countries do you think you’d be better off in, all things considered?

        • McFlock 12.1.2.1

          Nowhere. Dunedin is home. If I lose all connection to my home, I’ll be ok most places on the planet. Transferable skills, good quals, little capital startup.

          But the issue isn’t whether or not I have any connection to the land and community around me.

          The issue is the fact that NZ workers are producing more and more, and not sharing in the profits they generate. That’s a fact compiled by statisticsNZ, not anecdotal at all.

        • Stuart Munro 12.1.2.2

          Korea is certainly better governed – Saudi isn’t but its economy is awash with money – everything is easy except the bureaucracy. China basically sucks – low pay, no environment. NZ would be okay but the government have been wrecking it for the last thirty years. England is poor and miserable, with scarcely a trace of former greatness.

          You hope that your government does its job and looks after our people – and then you see that asshole Bill has Chinese boners in Southland now SFF is sold. Same as the Russians who destroyed the fishing industry, there will be nothing left for kiwis unless we punish the traitors.

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.2.1

            “China basically sucks.”

            It’s all relative. They have far less extreme poverty than countries like India or the USA.

            • Stuart Munro 12.1.2.2.1.1

              I am of course considering the expat perspective. Rural poverty in parts of China remains pretty significant, and the deculturation China suffered during the 20th century was pretty severe – it makes you want to retire to a quiet corner like Hangzhou and raise violet pearls – but nowhere seems particularly quiet any more. I expect in 20-30 years China will be much better – Korea’s Han river was almost dead 20 years ago – now it’s a park. Bad cultural match for me – as America would be I expect: pushy and lacking substance.

              As an ELT teacher you need a healthy economy or what you need to earn to save anything is too great an imposition on your students’ families. If that matters to you.

              • Colonial Viper

                Although I don’t disagree with your specific comments, I have to state again that China, despite its huge population, has largely escaped the bottom 2 or 3 deciles of personal income, on a global basis.

                Global poverty. Global oligarchy.

                Of course on an expat basis or vis a vis NZ, they are still much worse off in general, excluding their oligarchic class.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      It’s capitalism and the greed of the rich preventing people from improving productivity.

    • RedLogix 12.3

      Well as I said above, I’m working for a very innovative company that really is a disruptor in our industry. (Yeah that word is a bit hackey … but it’s true.)

      We are doing things … and I mean projects >$100m that no-one else in our industry can or has the balls to do. Is my world perfect? Of course not, but our senior management does value hard work and new ideas They’re always looking for better AND safer ways to do things. On a daily basis.

      Shame is I had to move to Aus to find it.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 12.4

      I’ve got a decent sized list of innovative ideas for various employers that have gone through to implementation that have made many things better and increased productivity.

      I’ve got other things that become someone else’s idea a couple of years later – often the same person that poohed poohed it two years earlier.

      I also see what’s wrong with things which poor managers see as negativity and good managers use to manage risk.

      I’d say it’s been about 50/50 over the years.

      It’s pretty obvious over the years that there are some pretty skilled and knowledgeable people on this site.

      Making lots of money isn’t necessarily the motivation for many.

      Sometimes saving lost sheep is all we aim to do.

      • The lost sheep 12.4.1

        Making lots of money isn’t necessarily the motivation for many

        I agree. The real purpose is the creation of ‘wealth’ for the many.
        What ever the motivation, we need people who are intelligently working to better our collective situation.

        Personally, I think the (oops) responsibility (oops) for that lies far more with the people than it does with the Government.
        Either way, more power to you for your contribution Sssmith.

        • Colonial Viper 12.4.1.1

          “What ever the motivation, we need people who are intelligently working to better our collective situation.”

          That’s not what happens in an oligarchy.

          • The lost sheep 12.4.1.1.1

            Yup.
            But not sure how that is relevant?
            A society with Universal suffrage is not an oligarchy, like NZ if that is what you are implying, and so there is nothing stopping you getting out and creating enterprises that benefit the people.

            Be a far more significant contribution to the general good than spending all day whinging about the Labour Party on an obscure blog don’t you think?

            • Stuart Munro 12.4.1.1.1.1

              Ha. Read Michel’s Iron Law.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy

              • The lost sheep

                You are quoting a 1911 theory by someone who went on to migrate to Italy and joined Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Party, as he believed this was the next legitimate step of modern societies

                That’s about where I’d picked your political sympathies lay Stuart.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  And RWNJs keep referencing back to an 18th century book but ignore the greater lessons of the author of that book.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Nevertheless there is always an oligarchy. In NZ it’s currently a set of tax-evading property speculators and dairy concerns.

                  As a RWNJ I must defer to your insider’s knowledge of fascism.

  13. Whispering Kate 13

    Another way for companies to cut costs is through the tool of job attrition, where a staff member leaves they are not replaced, their job is shared among remaining staff and so on. I know a company who has a third less staff now and, granted the economy hasn’t been helpful they nevertheless are left with stressed staff, job morale is low and everybody on a daily basis feels not very loyal to the company. Suspicious always. What sort of a job experience is that. And, writers on this site are correct middle/top tier managers are usually psychopathic and bullies or haven’t a clue how to interact with their staff. Bill English has been out of the “real job market” for 40 years if he ever was in it, what gives him the right to slag off NZ young men – he has a family of his own and probably sons, what a terrible thing to say.

    • Sacha 13.1

      Talked with someone in that boat this week – 30% more work, no increased pay, respect, anything. Leaving.

  14. Sacha 14

    The Herald’s Brian Gaynor assesses how and why NZ business leaders fail to perform long-term: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11195066

  15. hoom 15

    Bit late so probably nobody will read it but:
    The thing about Productivity as an economics term at the national level is that its not what most people (& especially the righties like to make us think) it is.

    Productivity = GDP/hours worked

    GDP = compensation of employees + gross operating surplus + gross mixed income + taxes less subsidies on production and imports

    So if you keep salaries & taxes low you are actively working against GDP growth -> Productivity stays flat.
    Increasing salaries & tax will increase GDP -> Productivity.
    Increasing hours worked without increasing salaries also works to keep Productivity flat.

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