Marriott Alumni Magazine

Spring Summer 1977 Exchange

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Increasing Government Productivity by LeRoy F. Harlow The place was a San Francisco hotel dining room; the date, October 11, 1972; the time, 9:45 a.m. Seven of us-two industry executives, two government officials, two consultants, and I—were seated at the same table, having "lunch." The occasion: one of Business Week magazine's national seminars on productivity. One of the industry executives, head of a large bakery chain, was complaining. "I thought this was a conference on productivity and that I might learn something we can use in our plants. Instead, all they're talking about is government. I couldn't care less." The other private executive heartily agreed "I thought with the record showing how Japan, West Germany, and those other countries are catching up to us in output, we'd be concentrating on business's problems." Why this attention to government? Because, for the first time in American history, state and local government is the fastest-growing sector of the American economy when measured by number of employees, expenditures, and percent of the Gross National Product. Size of Government Although the government's growth rate has slowed somewhat since the 1960s and earl y 1970s, it is still high. To get a handle on this, examine the latest official Lemon-ADE $5,000,000,000

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