Charting The Great Stagnation Of American's Real Productivity

Tyler Durden's picture

With Federal debt growing at the rate of $40,000 a second - not all that far from what a typical family earns in a year; with a debilitating dependency on the state all too elevated; and with any number of restraints to peace and progress not only unresolved, but utterly unresolvable under present conditions, is it any wonder that our nation has become entirely stagnant. As Sean Corrigan of Diapason Commodities notes in this simple chart - real net private product per capita has been dead for more than a decade - mirroring its poor showing during the inflationary disaster of forty years ago. Given the four-more-years of Bernanke, to expect a radical turnaround under such conditions (of monetary policy largesse and experimentation) would be to display as much naivety about the prospects for 'change' as did so many bien pensants four short years ago.


Source: Diapason Commodities

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slaughterer's picture

Productivity no longer matters in this economy.  Only monetary base and simulation.  

LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, now I bought the VIX, what trading halted?  Fuck you and pay me!  this will end well I am sure.

malikai's picture

Winter is coming.

Dress warm.

Dan Conway's picture

The elite would like productivity to go backwards if it would keep the people happy.  Fortunately for the elite, food stamps and obummer phones do the trick. 

LawsofPhysics's picture

No surprise really.  Remind me, what are the wages for people who actually produce something of real value again?

redpill's picture

Produce?  I'm not familiar with that term.  You mean borrow money and spend it on Chinese nicknacks?  BEA tells me that is growth?  Is that production then?

saints51's picture

It is whatever they want it to be. Guess what??? We will accept it.

krispkritter's picture

Produce. Green shoots man. Where's the salad dressing?

Everybodys All American's picture

Produce. I think he meant like vegetables. No not the ones that vote for this bs to continue.

RSloane's picture

I hate it when Laws throws out trick questions!

Shizzmoney's picture

Totally, slaughterer.  And, on top of that, it's created a huge income divide that is dangerous for the nation:

Election Results: The Income Divide

But in sharp contrast to 2008, the partisan split along income lines is huge. Obama’s vote percentage declines in straight line fashion as income rises. He got 63 percent of the votes of Americans making less than $30,000 and 57 percent of those making between $30,000 and $50,000. Above $50,000, the Other America kicks in. Romney won 53 percent of the votes of Americans making between $50 and a $100 thousand and 54 percent of the votes of Americans making above $100,000.

The Democrats’ poor showing in the House elections — they way under-performed for a party that had lost so many seats two years before — probably reflects a substantial Republican advantage in money, including the famous Superpacs, some of which poured resources into Congressional races. It was surely also affected by the White House’s reluctance to spend time and resources trying to elect Democratic House candidates.

nantucket's picture

so what you're saying is we're due for another "great leap forward"?  george likes his kung pow chicken spicy.

buzzsaw99's picture

And what of value does Diapason Commodities produce?

Bam_Man's picture

real net private product per capita has been dead for more than a decade

Oh, it's been dead for a lot longer than that when you consider the nonsense that counts as "GDP" in a "service" economy. For example, you and I each mow the other's lawn and pay each other $5. That's $10 in GDP. A total farce.

Spastica Rex's picture


"Production" is a bunch of BS. "Productivity" is BS/T.

Bastiat's picture



Off topic but . . .

California Democrats appear to have picked up a supermajority in both houses of the state Legislature Tuesday night, a surprise outcome that gives the party the ability to unilaterally raise taxes and leaves Republicans essentially irrelevant in Sacramento.

Read more:

In CA now you can talk about The Party, period.  Unions own it. 

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Well, it will be an interesting experiment.  CA insists people will pay more to live in the "Golden State."  We'll see.

Bastiat's picture



Random down clicker on the loose. 

Tell you what:  they will pay more and more, going Forward.

Spastica Rex's picture

Competition at work.

Don't like California? Move to Idaho.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

They sure will.  And I'm glad the experiment will take place in another state.  Nothing like getting an education for free.

ersatzteil's picture

They also mandated that condoms be used in porn films. Nasty, uncomfortable things; never wear 'em myself. The Culver City riot is about to rival the anti-austerity protest in Athens.

fuu's picture

Weird connectivity issues in the last 10 minutes.

CunnyFunt's picture

As went the VIX, so goes ZH?

Yen Cross's picture

It is not an illusion. I to, suffered a Z/H brownout!

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Must be the same "rogue" algo that busted VIX.  

Shizzmoney's picture

One could say the problem of America going from a producer to a consumer started in 1924 (or even 1913...shocker):

saints51's picture

Wonder what happened around those years that was important?hmmmmmmmm

Quinvarius's picture

The stagnation started as soon as we repealed Glass–Steagall.   That was when we traded a functional banking system for a casino.

Apocalicious's picture

Glass-Steagall's a red herring. Bank of America / Banc of America was doing exactly what they are now in perfect compliance with Glass-Steagall before it was repealed.


Willfully ignoring antitrust laws is the real issue.

Bunga Bunga's picture

But but but Krugman said technology will solve all problems.

Yen Cross's picture

 Listening to "Bob Pissonme" talk about the VIX is comical. We need to unleash WB-7s' talents on that bloviating BTFD poster child.

   As far as productivity goes, I just designed a waterproof "Bob Pisani" dart board. Great for outdoor shooting ranges.

  Fuck You Bob Pisani, and the Unicorn you rode in on!

Everybodys All American's picture

Pissonme is the poster child for this fake stock market world we have to put up with every day.

fuu's picture

"I just designed a waterproof "Bob Pisani" dart board. Great for outdoor shooting ranges."

Or urinal mats.

JosephConrad's picture

This Stagnation is as much a consquence of Polical Choice as it is Financial Condition and Public Policy. Americans elected weak willed 'collaborators' to represent them in Congress. Then they permited key government positions to be filled by Morally & Ethically corrupt pre-felons (not yet arrested, indicted and jailed). American voters have been duped since the murder of John F. & Bobby K. - by the exact same set of thugs. They have only themselves to blame! 

Spastica Rex's picture

Americans dressed provocatively. They only got what they looked like they wanted.

Helix6's picture

Actually, the great improvement in productivity during the '80s and '90s went hand-in-hand with the personal computer revolution.  Before that, we were using production systems essentially worked out in WWII adapted to domestic production.  After that, the "low hanging fruit" made reachable by the computer revolution had mostly been picked.  Increasing productivity has been pretty tough sledding since then.  Financial shenanigans and political chicanery are not the only elements in this story.

Charley's picture

Interesting. The first period of the chart is the Great Stagflation (depression) of the 1970s; the second period was the expansion that followed, about 1980-2000; the last period is the current depression that began in 2001 or so. You can also see these periods pretty clearly if you measure nominal GDP in terms of the price of an ounce of gold. This is actually a quite amazing chart.