Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Becoming French?

Due to the number of hours worked per person collapsing at a much faster rate than real GDP, GDP per hour worked has actually been soaring.

Work less, be more productive, and use that free time to be with your family.

While not necessarily done by choice, after reading Paul Krugman's July 2005 article titled 'French Family Values', I'm wondering if we're slowly becoming (or should become) French?

Source: BLS / BEA


  1. Perhaps this is an indication that real GDP numbers aren't credible and are grossly overestimated.

  2. Perhaps we should measure 2 different types of productivity growth. One occurs when new machines or organization makes domestic workers more productive. This type may lead to a loss of jobs, but may also increase compensation for the remaining workers (maintaining their capacity to consume. The other type occurs when jobs are shipped overseas. This simply eliminates jobs and the consumption they produce. Both types of increased productivity increase profits, but the second, if carried to extreme, is not sustainable.

  3. not sure how this shows real GDP numbers aren't credible. it just shows that a large number of workers that work on the margin, do not add as much to the overall economy (on a per hour basis).

  4. Real GDP per hour worked linearly increasing without interruption since 1964 and that doesn't look cooked to you?

  5. As a French I have to tell you that, yes, we have lots of "unworked" days and free time.

    But the downside is : we can only spend it on our couch at home because our economy doesn't create enough wealth for us to be able to go on vacation or even enjoy half the entertainment that America enjoys.

  6. Jrm L- thanks for the color.

    I think there is a balance that needs to take place and your insight is appreciated.

    However, the assumption that everyone in America can afford a vacation is a myth (and there are plenty of people who do not work).

    I personally can afford the vacation... just know I don't have enough time to take them all that frequently.