(1) What you get back from a task for the work you put into it. That is: input × productivity = output.

Input usually refers to labour, but it could equally well be capital, land, or energy. Or environmental impact (eco-efficiency). For example, the labour-productivity of industrial agriculture is high; its land-productivity is not so high; its energy-productivity is low.

(2) The extent to which a system produces interesting, diverse, life-enhancing results: friendships, trust, inventiveness, the arts, social and cultural capital.

Productivity can be seen and admired in a rock pool, with its variety of species, events and politics; or in a creative civilisation; or in an imaginative mind.  Like the “potential” developed in the adaptive cycle (Wheel of Life), productivity is enriched by connections and complexity, but only up to a point, beyond which the connections themselves produce rigidity and destroy it.


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Appropriate Technology, Leisure.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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