In the first episode we showed how the US became an unsustainable service sector based economy from the 1970s onward when service sector employment diverged from manufacturing without a corresponding boost in productivity. In the second episode we laid out the consequences that transition has had on labour in terms of lower wages and benefits. In addition, we reiterated our argument that monetary policy has become slave to the service sector as it has become linked to the much touted wealth effect (capital consumption) that is now an integral part of the American business cycle.
Now it is time to take a closer look at productivity measured in terms of GDP per capita. While this is not an entirely correct way to measure productivity, it does adhere to new classical growth model theories which posit that in a developed economy, reached steady state, the only way to increase GDP per capita is through increased total factor productivity. In plain English, growth in GDP per capita equals productivity growth. The reason we use this concept instead of more advanced productivity measures is to get a long enough time series to properly understand the underlying fundamental forces driving society forward.