I’m reading George Lakey’s Viking Economics, and one of the topics he touches on is productivity. He quotes an OECD study which shows that Norwegian workers produce “27.8 percent more per hour for the hours worked” compared to US workers, and another that shows Norwegians work 1,418 hours in a year, whereas US workers spend 1,790 hours at work.
He argues that the significantly higher productivity in Norway is a result of the welfare system and strong worker’s rights. Norwegians receive free healthcare, education, low-cost childcare, great options for parental leave, support between work and for retraining, and minimum 25 days of paid vacation each year. Parents also get a stipend to cover the costs of raising their child until it turns 18 years old.
If the US wants to become more productive, maybe it should take better care of its people instead of criticizing people for getting old.