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#4 assumes private sector wage increase is a norm to follow - but hasn't economy been growing much faster than that? It seems more like private sector screws its workers than public sector treating its unreasonably well.

(I might be wrong, the only way to tell is by adding third curve of per capita economic growth)

Regardless of whether the private sector path should be treated as a norm to follow or not, since most public sector employees have negative marginal productivity it's hard to see how they should be getting steady increases.

#3,

Painful when the facts turn out not to support one's preconceived notions, I suppose. But I see Caplan's not giving up.

10^570 possible sentences for speech recognition? That means we only need 4.7 more Googles and we'll be there!

Productivity growth has been over 2.7% a year for a decade. http://www.bls.gov/lpc/prodybar.htm A more important question than the difference between public sector and privates sector wages, is why wages for everyone has not growing faster.

nelsonal,
I should have said "average wages of both sectors", not "everyones", I was not making a comment about income distribution. The mis-match between productivity growth and wage growth in the economy indicates there are some workers that are not being paid their marginal product. Whether it is high end workers or unskilled ones doesn't matter when you are dealing with averages.

Manufacturing accounts for 12% of our GDP, so what happen in manufacturing productivity is not what determines the productivity growth rate.

For anyone who wants more on speech recognition, there was a good discussion of this article (#6) on HackerNews yesterday http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1313679

The OC Register piece includes "Liquidity is going to happen in a family business..": can anyone tell me what that might mean?

Including wages and benefits skews the results toward the public sector since it has fewer part time and no benefit jobs than the private sector. Since many states have had pay cuts or no increases over the past two years, most of the growth is probably the increased cost of benefits. In addition, even though the graph starts both lines at the same point, average wages for state and local (not federal), employees is still lower than the private sector.

My friend Rich Fritszon tells me that no one who really understands the problem of speech recognition ever expected human-level performance from the current techniques, which were quite a remarkable breakthrough in the early 19080s. I agree with him. He also tells me that Google has pushed the art beyond what Fortner discusses. Here's my own reflections on the subject:

http://new-savanna.blogspot.com/2010/05/speech-recognition-with-theological.html

FWIW, Rich and I were both trained by David Hays, a pioneering researcher in machine translation and the man who coined the term "computational linguistics."

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