In an op-ed published in Le Monde, Giuseppe Nicoletti, an economist at the OECD, spoke out fervently in favour of deploying new technologies. He argues that this will help improve productivity – not by working harder or longer, but more intelligently…
After enjoying rapid growth in the 20th and early 21st centuries, productivity has slowed down in developed countries, such as France. And yet for Giuseppe Nicoletti, productivity is the key to growth: he quoted American economist Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2008:
“Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.”
Nicoletti is unequivocal in his analysis of the situation:
“Without a sustainable increase in productivity, growth will remain low and the world will be less prosperous in the future.”
So what role can new technologies play in future productivity? As Nicoletti points out, opinion on the subject is divided amongst economists:
“Some believe that new technologies have already exhausted their potential for innovation, whilst others think they still have the power to bring about an increase in productivity.”
Nicoletti himself belongs to the latter school of thought. Referring to a report published by the OECD in 2015 (”The Future of Productivity”), he explains:
“It’s not lack of innovation but access to technological advances in the economies of industrialised countries, which is partly due to inadequate government policies, which has reduced the impact of innovation on productivity since the turn of the century.”
For Nicoletti, government policy has a key role to play in reversing this trend. These inadequate policies are the result of a complex situation in which there are innovative, productive companies with strong growth, and others that are struggling. And the gulf between the two is widening every day.
According to Giuseppe Nicoletti, the solution lies in public policy: this is the only way, he believes, to: “boost access to technologies and thus reverse the productivity curve and ensure future growth,” by providing a favourable environment for innovation and deploying new technologies.
This discrepancy between a small number of highly-innovative technology companies and others which are less mature in terms of their digital transformation has also been remarked upon by Bruno Grossi, Executive Director for Econocom Group. He believes adopting digital tools and, more generally, the digital transformation of society, is crucial. And yet companies still have a long way to go:
“Digital is revolutionising our everyday lives and radically changing our habits, and yet there’s still too big a gap between digital practices in organisations and in our private lives.
It’s essential that companies improve their productivity and join the Digital for All, Now! digital revolution, now more than ever: it’s the essential prerequisite if countries are to resume economic growth.
=> Read “The Future of Productivity”, a report published in 2015 by the OECD
=> And also on our blog: