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Mengkaji Paradoks Produktivitas

WASHINGTON, DC – Selama lebih dari sepuluh tahun, productivity growth (pertumbuhan produktivitas) mengalami penurunan drastis di sebagian besar negara maju, meski banyak kemajuan telah diraih di sejumlah bidang seperti teknologi komputer, telepon seluler, dan robotika. Semua kemajuan tersebut seharusnya membangkitkan produktivitas; akan tetapi di Amerika Serikat, negara yang memimpin inovasi teknologi, rata-rata kenaikan produktivitas buruh di sektor bisnis pada kurun waktu 2004-2014 justru kurang dari setengah laju pertumbuhan di dekade sebelumnya. Apa yang sebetulnya terjadi?

Salah satu teori yang menonjol akhir-akhir ini adalah paradoks produktivitas yang sering disebut-sebut itu diklaim tidak ada. Pertumbuhan produktivitas hanya tampak menurun, sebab statistik yang digunakan untuk mengukurnya telah gagal menangkap keseluruhan prestasi-prestasi terbaru, terutama yang diperoleh berkat teknologi informasi dan komunikasi yang modern dan berkualitas tinggi. Jika harga tidak mencerminkan perbaikan mutu pada produk baru, estimasi price deflator berlebih dan real output terlampau rendah.

Selain itu, sebagaimana diutarakan kelompok skeptis, ukuran standar produktivitas didasarkan pada PDB, yang menurut definisinya hanya mencakup output yang dihasilkan. Consumer surplus – satu hal yang tumbuh cepat seiring dengan kemampuan layanan berbasis internet, seperti mesin pencari Google dan Facebook membuat konsumen menikmati kepuasan baru, dengan market price mendekati nol – justru diabaikan.

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