1973. Economics tends to leave out crucial variables.

Economists tend to use concepts like  levers on a dashboard controlling a few variables . Wren Lewis writes this morning

“…strong employment growth coupled with weak output growth means something is very wrong with productivity, and we cannot have sustained growth in real wages and living standards without productivity growth.


This approach leaves most variable out of consideration. In this case, profit, wealth concentration, and lets add greenhouse gases. People are mesmerized  by A up B up or A up B down structured argumnents.

It might be that lowering productivity – more workers for same out put or less output with fewer workers or – perhaps less output with more workers, less profit and maybe shared lowering benefits lowering for all to meet greenhouse conditions.

His argument.

  • Lower productivity
  • Lower wages 
  • Lower growth 
  • =Terrible  

(No consideration of profit nor wealth concentration)


  • Lower productivity
  • Lower profits 
  • Lower wages 
  • More jobs with reduced wages  (or some form of GI)
  • Reduction in  greenhouse gases
  • = Good and urgent.

The approach of wanting a few variable argument tends to push  away, to exclude, other variables, other narratives. 

“As wages go up purchasing power goes up.” Not necessarily. In much of the poorer part of the world wages are going up, lets say by a factor of three, but prices by a factor of five (as people are moved into high rises far from food production.)

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