These necessary macro-economic changes, he said, had nothing to do with the high-skill jobs being discussed at the conference. He attributed employment imbalances to general mismanagement of labor markets, the failure to open up more markets, and slow progress in using new technical knowledge to generate employment. Europe did not need a policy that puts “everybody into the labor market, no matter what they do,” but “a much more strategic policy of increasing the knowledge intensity of economic activity.”
Dr. Myers closed the discussion by mentioning the “Solow paradox,” the discovery that when U.S. firms first invested in information technology, they saw no increase in productivity. The problem was that new technology was being applied to existing work processes. His company found that productivity increased only when work procedures, including the production floor, were totally redesigned to fit the new IT. Any discussion of jobs, he said, needed to include a discussion of productivity, both of which are important for secure economic performance.