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当今的生产力困局

纽约 ——生产率增长的最新趋势让人很难对未来感到乐观。在2014年,衡量资本与劳动生产率总和的全要素生产力在全球范围内的增长已经连续第三年停留在零左右,而这个数字在1996~2006年,以及2007~2012年的危机期间都还分别有1%和0.5%。同时种种迹象表明2015年也会同样惨淡。在美国,十二月初公布的修订后第三季度生产力数据同比仅增长了0.6%

如果连美国这些国家的全要素生产力基本增长速度实际上都已经从过去每年1.5%的常态降到接近零,那么当今年轻人的生活水平将比其父辈提升得更慢。任何提升都将完全取决于在教育和培训方面的改善,而这并未在数据中显示;或者依靠对设备和基础设施的投资来改善,但这方面也已经低于历史水平。

西北大学的罗伯特·戈登(Robert Gordon)等一批经济学家认为生产率增长的大跌反映了技术的停滞。戈登认为,所有划时代的进步——从自来水和电力到内燃机和喷气发动机——都已经完成。相比之下,即时通讯和视频游戏对生产力和生活水平的促进作用简直是小巫见大巫。

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