Human achievement and the history of productivity

Think:Act magazine "On being human"
Human achievement and the history of productivity

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Think:Act Magazine

Munich Office, Central Europe
December 3, 2018

Looking at milestones of productivity, this infographic traces human innovation over millennia


by Detlef Gürtler
infographic by Maximilian Nertinger

Tackling scarcity has been a key human concern. Productivity improvements in food, labor and knowledge have helped solve it. Here's how productivity and endeavor have shaped the world.

The Milestones of productivity

Making the world a better place has played a decisive role throughout human history – and will continue to do so. The biggest achievements were made by the most advanced civilizations of each era: from Africa to Asia to Europe and America.

Food Productivity

Agriculture is the most basic form of production. New technology has helped agricultural productivity increase by 300% since 1750.

Labor Productivity

In the industrial age the use of machines led to a reduction of working hours which has caused a significant rise in labor productivity.

Knowledge Productivity

Knowledge has become the main driver of productivity in the 21st century. Its impact is measured less in numbers, and more in quality of work and life.

About the author
Portrait of Detlef Gürtler
Detlef Gürtler
Detlef Guertler is a German economic journalist and senior researcher for the Swiss think tank GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. His main focus is on change - reforms and revolutions, innovations and disruptions in history, future and right now. Detlef Guertler's latest book "Clusterfuck" was published in 2018 at Hanser Verlag, Munich. He lives in Berlin and Marbella.
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On being human


In this issue of Think:Act magazine we examine in detail what it means to be human in our complex and fast changing world now and in the days to come.

Published November 2018. Available in
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Portrait of Think:Act Magazine

Think:Act Magazine

Munich Office, Central Europe