You'd think a renewed focus on handmade products would be good for a country's economy. That's not the sentiment in Australia, with a new report claiming that handcrafted industries which require more employee hours, like bread baking and winemaking, are to blame for the country's sagging productivity.
The Australian Productivity Commission has determined that the handmade trend is not good for business. Specifically, the study points its fingers at artisanal bread, which apparently requires twice as many working bakers to produce the same amount of loaves: "Bakery product manufacturing is likely to have contributed to lower measures of productivity." Winemakers fared even worse in the study, accused of pouring more money and resources into their process, even with falling demand for Australian grapes.
But wait a minute, wouldn't people be paying more for that fancy bread, therefore making up for the extra time that's required to make it? Also, how many artisanal bakers could there possibly be in Australia? There are certainly plenty of factories still churning out Kleenexy white bread. The trouble, at least as I have heard from some designers, is that these higher-quality products don't always find a market, even when they're made responsibly with better materials. The market can only support so many artisanal goods.
However, I do like imagining a growing group of revolting Australian business owners who are eschewing the idea of productivity all in the name of bottling quality shiraz — it's almost like a rejection of the Industrial Revolution. [Australian Financial Review]
AP Photo/Bob Edme, File