Labour Productivity

  • J. Wilczynski


Under the extensive approach to economic development optimum employment was identified with maximum employment. This attitude was further reinforced by political and ethical considerations. As the Socialist State was responsible for providing sustenance to the population anyway, any addition by labour to total production was regarded as socially gainful, so that there was a tendency to push employment up to the point where the marginal product of the labour force approached zero. The system of incentives was such that it favoured additional employment irrespective of its efficiency (see Chapter 6 B, pp. 97–8). The policy of maximum employment, as a Polish economist described:

undoubtedly yielded several important benefits, such as a rapid growth of production enabling a mighty investment leap forward and the incorporation of hundreds of thousands of persons into production processes at higher occupational levels. But at the same time, the policy of maximum employment produced a number of adverse effects. Above all, it was not conducive to the growth of labour productivity because it led to over-full employment and a high labour turnover, and it weakened labour discipline and conscientious application to work.1


Labour Productivity Trade Union National Income German Democratic Republic Industrial Output 
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  1. 1.
    Y. Yakovleva, (‘Labour Resources in the CMEA Countries’), Voprosy ekonomiki (Problems of Economics), Moscow, 1/1969, p. 152.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    K. Mikulskii, (‘Urgent Problems Facing the CMEA Countries in the Distribution of Labour’), Voprosy ekonomiki, 7/1969, pp. 139-40.Google Scholar

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© J. Wilczynski 1972

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  • J. Wilczynski

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