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A World of Wealth: How Capitalism Turns Profits into Progress by Thomas G. Donlan

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Chapter 11. The Capitalist Quest for Productivity

The endless struggle to improve productivity at the heart of capitalism is not always welcome. Productivity can mean doing more with the same amount of effort, but a business trying to improve its productivity may have to reduce labor hours without reducing output. That means job losses, which are never popular. If productivity increases without actual job losses, it still may be a sign that the boss has found a way to make workers work harder. Speeding up an assembly line or forcing workers to adopt the recommendations of efficiency experts are unpopular with workers. After such experiences, any talk of productivity increases may be seen as a threat.

Recall from the introduction the painters whose ...

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