Productivity up, happiness down

Productivity up, happiness down

Is Australia’s biggest problem that we’re not rich enough, because we aren’t “productive” enough? The Government thinks so, and the Opposition agrees.

In the first of his series of Australia Day speeches, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd suggested that a 2 per cent annual growth in productivity is the solution to the problem of an ageing population. And we’d be richer in the bargain _ã” $16,000 per person by 2050, to be precise.

The Opposition concurred wholeheartedly with the focus on productivity, though of course questioning whether this Government is the right one for the job. In doing so, they missed an important opportunity to distinguish themselves, as the UK Conservatives did in 2006, by appealing to a society founded on deep principles of community wellbeing, rather than mere material affluence. Our major parties should be capable of the same honesty and freshness of thinking.

So for now, Labor and the Coalition are united in believing that the best, and perhaps only, way for Australia to flourish is for more of us to work, and work harder, to produce more stuff more efficiently.

Are they right?

To read more about the links between productivity and happiness – click here