The great mystery of the past 40-plus years is The Case of the Missing Productivity. Productivity started to decline in the early '70s and with the exception of a brief revival in the '90s thanks to the Internet, it's been in a continuous slump. Economists aren't really sure why, but I would offer up my own theory: The manager did it.
In the period right after World War II, we benefited from a highly trained managerial class. These men (and they were almost all men) had been trained by the U.S. military and tested under the most difficult circumstances. These are the kind of guys who turned around Ford. The generation that followed was better educated, but not necessarily better equipped.