> Warren Buffett Blog: Innovation and Productivity gains will continue to make America great

Monday, August 22, 2016

Innovation and Productivity gains will continue to make America great

There’s two things that make it better: innovation and productivity, which are interlocked in certain ways. When you think of it, all of the products that you and I are using to make our lives better weren’t even around 30 years ago. It’s pretty extraordinary. 

And if you go back 100 years, every time I get in the dental chair, I think to myself, if this was 100 years ago, they’d be pouring whiskey down me and holding my arms. Now, I sit there and daydream about other stuff. So anything that improves experiences – what people want to do with the 24 hours in the day that they have. And secondly, what really counts is gains in productivity. If you go back 100 years … the farms around where I live here were producing 30 bushels of corn per acre. Now they’re producing 160 bushels of corn per acre. Well, that’s dramatic, and of course they take less people to do it as well, so, just up and down the line, you look at how many man-hours it takes to produce an auto now compared to 50 years ago. So, productivity – that’s the way the human race improves.