To Increase America's Productivity, Ban This...

Tyler Durden's picture

Aside from short-lived booms in the 1990s and 2000s, US productivity growth has averaged just 1.2% from 1975 up to today after peaking above 3% in 1972.

As we detailed previously, adjusting for the WWII anomaly (which tells us that GDP is not a good measure of a country’s prosperity) US productivity growth peaked in 1972 – incidentally the year after Nixon took the US off gold.

The productivity decline witnessed ever since is unprecedented. Despite the short lived boom of the 1990s US productivity growth only average 1.2 per cent from 1975 up to today.

If we isolate the last 15 years US productivity growth is on par with what an agrarian slave economy was able to achieve 200 years ago.

As we reported last year, users spent 51% of their total internet time on mobile devices, for a total of 5.6 hours per day snapchatting, face-booking, insta-graming and taking selfies.

It's an everyday sight - people using their phones while sitting on the train, waiting for a bus, or even having a meal with their partner.

What exactly are they doing the whole time though?

When it comes to social networks, Verto Analytics may have the answer. The most time spent in the U.S. on a 'mainstream' app is the 899 minutes per month of the average Facebook user.

The social network whose users invest the most time though is a networking app for gay, bi, and curious men - Grindr. WIth a huge 1,040 minutes on average, that's over 17 hours every month.

In third place, Growlr is also a networking/dating app for homosexual men. The average user here spends 665 minutes per month.

In eighth, Twitter's struggles are again highlighted, with only 176 minutes in Q3 2017.

Figures refer to usage across all platforms, not just mobile.

Infographic: The Most Time Consuming Social Networks | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

So, maybe in their next wide-ranging study, economists could include a test group of workers who leave their phones in a locker at the beginning of the work day, and try to measure how much their “productivity” improves. So, while every effort can be made by Ivory Tower academics to solve the problem of American worker productivity, perhaps it can be summed up simply as "Put The Smart-Phone Down!"


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scrood's picture

Improving health would reduce spending on health care, which has been a drag on the USA Economoy for decades. 

rejected's picture

Health Care is included in GDP. Why do you think they are keeping O-Care.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Perhaps the greatest (commercial) psyops EVER was calling the internet connected phone 'smart'.

DontGive's picture

Just told a newhire I'd shove his phone up his ass if I see him finger fucking it any more on the clock.

Cruel Aid's picture

Ha ha, good one. I hear it's taking over the real thing and that ain't good for reproductively. Wait that's a good thing according to some. I wonder the stat on screwing while texting.

Blythes Master's picture

But....But......But, they told us that the interwebs would SAVE us time?!

His name was Seth Rich.

merizobeach's picture

I hate my old dumb phone, but I hate it less than everyone else's smart phones.

Oracle of Kypseli's picture

To increase productivity, pay should be linked to performance. 

take phones away, test for drugs frequently and fire on the spot.

virgule's picture

It's curious that I use smart phones and computers all day for work - but I don't have an account for any of the 8 listed social networks...and I feel absolutely no loss whatsoever!

Hikikomori's picture

Told us computers would provide a paperless office as well....

Retired Guy's picture

People having fun with their smart phones does nothing for GDP? Which is the goal: fun or GDP? Sure the 1% love GDP but do we really care what they love?

Blue Steel 309's picture

Red herring. Your name is starting to resemble your comments.

Escrava Isaura's picture

I think Cognitive Dissonance point is pretty astute.

Now on “To Increase America’s Productivity”

Easy, just “Make America Great Again”

In less than four years we’ll find out.

I think we’ll all be disappointed.


NoPension's picture

I grew up addicted to the newspaper. As soon as I was married, and set up domicile, ordering home paper delivery was the finishing touch. I am now a grown up. That was 35 years ago.

At 55, I haven't bought but a couple copies of a newspaper in about ten years. I get my news from the internet. As an old dude, I'm lucky to be nearsighted. I take of my glasses, and I can read the smallest type on my smart phone.

At home, it's an iPad at the ready. But, haven't had fish wrap in this house for a long time. I don't know how they are staying in business. I WAS the typical customer.

buttmint's picture

...just when "smart" phones were getting rolling 8-10 years ago, I had a crew of Mexicans (Beaners) in my truck, heading to a hard work day of hard-trowled plastering. This is award-winning work and it blows your elbows, shoulders and back out. Not many Venetian plasterers in the USA. Only very few locales practice such a fine Renaissace art form.

The work is called "three-coat slick coat." We were doing base and brown coat. No way could I use this crew for the crucial top coat. This shit is not for the weak-of-heart. I wear a capo below my right elbow to keep from blowing ligaments.

I needed all hands on deck. I noticed ALL were fucking with their phones.

The job was not that far away---maybe 2 miles from where I picked 'em up. I pointed out all my cabling and power packs to charge up their phones.

They all went for it---then I locked my doors, stating " can check you phone at lunchtime and and end of the day...who wants to work for cash

and who wants to walk home---NOW?" All in Spanish, I was not fucking around. One guy---an hour later---said "...I gotta call my wife!" Ding Ding Ding---we have a winner---

I retrieved his phone...paid him for his time and told him to walk home---he can now spend all day WITH HIS FUCKING WIFE.


The rest got the hint---no mas problemma.

Rjh's picture

You cuck baby boomers are so old. Die already.

Kidbuck's picture

As with any tool, you have to be smarter than the phone to get a net benefit.

logicalman's picture






Blue Steel 309's picture

productivity is as much a myth as GDP and CPI are. It is based on putting mythical workers in the denominator.

New_Meat's picture

Yep, after all, it was invented and is "measured" by PhD Economists.

libertyanyday's picture

The GDP calc was reformatted in 2013..............we are dong so much better than ever thought before......

TBT or not TBT's picture

Camarades, something to celebrate from our bean counting department!   

peggysue1's picture

I'm a huge fan of nationalized health care. It's great to see a doctor for free. It's also wonderful to get dental treatment for free. I wish that I had been born in Sweeden. I wonder if they'll take me since I'm not a Muslim.

jin187's picture

And who pays for all this free care? These are people that spend upwards of half a million dollars, and over a decade of their life just to become a simple family doctor. Tack on another 5 years and another half mil if you want to be a high level specialist like a neurosurgeon.

This is why every non-fascist country with single-payer healthcare is heading for, or already has a doctor shortage. This is why Medicaid and Medicare are being accepted by less and less doctors.

When you support nationalizing healthcare, what you really mean is that you want to nationalize doctors, and that's pretty much defacto slavery. We'll end up drafting doctors based on test scores, and having people flee the country to escape the doctor draft.

jeff montanye's picture

that's hysterical enough.  especially the last line.  they can't even draft soldiers.  

if the government is paying for it, as in medicare and medicaid, why shouldn't they negotiate price?  

and at least someone in the mix, beyond the sad, clueless patient, should have a motive for an actual "cure", not just "treatment".

as is even more true of big pharma: they don't want cures, they want customers.

ThirdWorldNut's picture

Well said, very few people realize the role played by doctor lobby to constrain the supply of new doctors. They insist that newcomers muct be trained until well past 30years of age to become a doctor. Newcomers also have to work as apprentice at slave wages for 3-4 years. All in the name of doctors having patients life in their hand! I personally know half a dozen doctors who work few hours each day and then meet at golf. Thats what monopolists do. Whatever happened to hippocratic oath.

When you talk about specialists the rates are obscene, you are looking at north of $300 per 20 mins. The guy works 2 hours each day. People bitch about pharmas and what not (justifiably too) but lets not forget the doctor mafias.


TBT or not TBT's picture

Well beat me a path to the nearest VA facility then!   Government healthcare bureaucracies are so motivated to cure us!  

Singelguy's picture

Only in the USA does it cost so much money to become a doctor. Education in the rest of the world is much cheaper. Also, the USA is the most litigious country in the world. Therefore doctors require serious liability insurance coverage. High education cost + high insurance costs = high healthcare costs. Something has to give.

buttmint's picture

India is the template for future medical care. The deal is this: get sliced 'n diced in India, rehab in Thailand.

Comprehendo? Indian Medical practices are 1/10th USA costs and much, much better.

lasvegaspersona's picture

There will never be a doctor shortage. The state will take high school grads, give them 2 or 3 years of 'special training'. They will be your 'primary care provider'. Since the average person does not understand medical training they will call these 'providers' 'doctor'. Shortage solved.

yarpos's picture

not allowed to utter those words here.  Americans think that if they cant make it work it cant work anywhere.  Universal healthcare = socialist hell hole, everything is awesome in the USA!  No 1!!

343 Guilty Spark's picture

Well considering that Sweden has a 60% income tax and they are still in a fiscal shortfall with universal healthcare being the leading expense....yeah you are pretty much right....but without the sarcasm.

The only country that I have seen it truly work and the doctors get paid absolute shit (but are still perfectly fine with it) is Japan.  That has much more to do with how their society is based though than on economics.  It is not something a country like the UK, Germany, Sweden or even the USA can replicate.  

TBT or not TBT's picture

Japan decided to remain Japanese, for better or for worse, through thick and thin.  

The others listed are set on being replaced by third world cultures and values.  

Billy the Poet's picture

If government has all the answers then you just need to do everything Trump tells you to do. Don't be a hypocrite, listen to the man.

Syrin's picture

No one noticed that it's the fudge packers wasting the most time?

Syrin's picture

No one noticed that it's the fudge packers wasting the most time?

cherry picker's picture

Never mind productivity

If a nuke ever came visiting the USA the response time to save your life would be cut back accordingly as most people would be trying to grab that last picture and hit send instead of diving for cover.

That is how bad it is.

gnjus's picture

After I read your comment I kind of laughed. Then I realized you are 100%. I believe people would be doing selfies with nuke exploding in the background.

stayhumble's picture

And I will be laughing my ass off viewing said selfies from a somewhat safer location. 

libertyanyday's picture

which is  ironic,  there wont be a need to post a pic of  a dead person to,

NoPension's picture

I stopped off to visit mom. We were chit chatting, and I mentioned the stuffed turkey I prepared last weekend.
She said " I know, Mrs. Pension put it on Facebook " ......

yarpos's picture

No, that would be selfie and duck!

SixIsNinE's picture

the mega site DailyMail is now promoting that they PAY hard digital monies for your little video clips & selfie dramas.

just getting us ready for the moment we realize that we really ARE surveilled every moment of the day, 24/7/365.

PanOpticon R US.


The Greek horse's picture

The Smart phones came out around 2008 Crisis!??!?   Do you think it was a coincidence?!? 

techpriest's picture


Think to 5 years before. We had PDAs, cell phones, and iPods. It was only a matter of time before the PDA could start doing calls, and play tunes.

Nona Yobiznes's picture

I had an HP iPaq 6 years before the iPhone came out. It had a touch screen, could do calls, surf the web, send emails, watch videos, all that jazz. This is what pisses me off so much about Apple claiming the iPhone was a revolutionary product and the first of its kind. Apple did not invent the smartphone. They simply slapped a pretty casing on it and an exclusive price tag the vapid public couldn't resist. Yet still, most people see the iPhone as a pioneering product that everybody else is copying. It's bullshit. 

ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

I  have an Abacus 1, never changed a bead in 700 years,

it does tend to carry a 1 every once in awhile.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

U.S. productivity started its decline in 1972, right when the mommas started to jump into the workforce en mass, bringing family-centric values to work, like lots of excused absenteeism for busy-working parents.

Women's workforce participation quadrupled from 1958 to the present, but it really became mainstream in the Seventies, which was about 37 or 38 years before smartphones became ubiquitous.

When women raised their own children, rather than redistributing that labor to grandparents, $9-per-hour daycare workers, babysitters and NannyCams, they had more orderly homes, likely helping their husbands and children to be more productive at work and school.

We certainly had a lower prison rate back in the day when mommas raised their children, not the 25% of the world's prisoners and 5% of its population of the fake-feminist / family-focused workplace era.