Benjamin Franklin


Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy.
Benjamin Franklin

Man must achieve values in order to live. Productiveness is the virtue of achieving values. It is the fullest use of one's mind in seeking and achieving those values. It's primary use is in the creation of wealth. To live, men need physical wealth (meaning food, shelter, etc.) in order to survive. Wealth beyond the minimums is necessary to hedge against the uncertain future. The more wealth created and saved, the better chances one has of survival. Productiveness is the virtue of creating this wealth. It is directly responsible for the forwarding of one's life.

Productiveness in a market economy doesn't mean the direct creation of goods. It means the earning of goods through the creation of value. By trading goods or services, one enables the creation of wealth by others for one's own use. Trading is a kind of productiveness. It is another method of practicing productiveness. The result and aim is the same, though. The creation of wealth.

Productiveness is also applicable in other aspects of ones life. In social relationships, for instance, it is possible to create value. And even outside of material wealth, one can be productive by achieving values. Productiveness then isn't dependent on producing physical goods. It consists of producing values for oneself.

A last note on productivity is that it must be profitable to be called productive. This means the cost of doing something must be less than the value achieved by doing it. In this respect, many acts can be considered non-productive after the fact. Mere profitability, or the gaining from an act, is not sufficient for productivity, though. The virtue of productivity means achieving the most one can achieve. Working at a fast-food restaurant is not productive if one has the ability and opportunity to be a brain-surgeon. Spending ones resources (time and effort) on a lesser value when one could achieve a higher value is not productive.

Copyright 2001 by Jeff Landauer and Joseph Rowlands