Given our obsession with materialism, productivity "isn't everything, but in the long run it is almost everything," as Paul Krugman famously said. If so, the intergenerational report's consideration of the topic is quite inadequate.
It's partial in both senses. It mentions most of the key factors that influence productivity improvement - defined as increased goods and services produced per hour worked - but doesn't do justice to many, including climate change.
That's partly because, though the report purports to be about the future of the economy, its real target is Treasury's eternal top priority, the future of the budget balance.
But it's also because the econocrats are leading us towards their preferred policy response to our alleged productivity problem and away from those responses their "priors" - preconceived beliefs about how the world works - cause them to disapprove of.
There are two broad approaches to government efforts to improve productivity: one which involves more intervention and spending and one which involves less intervention and little change in spending. Guess which one Treasury's priors lead it to favour?
For the past 200 hundred years, most of the world's productivity improvement has come from technological advance - people inventing better machines and thinking of better ways to do things.
But the other fish Treasury wants to fry prompt it to embrace an extreme view held by a few American economists that we've entered a period of much less rapid technological change.
When you consider all the disruption the digital revolution is unleashing on so many industries this is hard to believe.
In the era of the knowledge economy, you'd expect much long and earnest discussion about what governments should and shouldn't be doing to encourage acquisition of the "human capital" that comes from education and training.
Should we be cutting budgetary support for science and research and development? Is now the right time to be pushing university funding off the budget and on to students and universities' money-making schemes?
Why would a government that professes to believe in "equality of opportunity" welch on its professed support for the Gonski reforms to school funding? Why would it view Gonski as about private versus public rather than about lifting the future participation and productivity of kids at the bottom of the distribution?
Instead, the issue of human capital is airily dismissed with the line that "there is little evidence that slower productivity growth has been the result of inadequate investment in skills, education and innovation more broadly".
Maybe. But it's probably equally true there's little evidence it hasn't been. All you're really saying is that there's little evidence - because we've never been willing to run to the expense of adequately measuring such a vital ingredient in our future wellbeing.
The other key element of productivity improvement that gets short shrift is public infrastructure spending. To what extent are its inadequacies limiting the productivity of businesses and adding to commuting times (an important part of our wellbeing that doesn't show up in gross domestic product)? But do workers who spend an hour getting to work arrive at their productive best?
No discussion of our present and future productivity performance is adequate without assessment of the role being played by our policy of high immigration. But all we get is the throwaway line that "there is some evidence that" high levels of migration increase productivity because our focus on skilled migration raises the workforce's average skill level and because "migrants can be highly motivated".
This is true and quite dishonest at the same time. It minutely examines the dog in the room while studiously ignoring the elephant. What economists know but try not to think about - and never ever mention in front of the children - is that immigration carries a huge threat to our productivity.
The unthinkable truth is that unless we invest in enough additional housing, business equipment and public infrastructure to accommodate the extra workers and their families, this lack of "capital widening" reduces our physical capital per person and so reduces our productivity.
Think of it: the very report announcing that our population is projected to grow by 16 million to 40 million over the next 40 years doesn't say a word about the huge increase in infrastructure spending this will require if our productivity isn't to fall, nor discuss how its cost should be shared between present and future taxpayers.
No, none of that. Just another repetition of that peculiarly Australian doctrine that pretty much the only way to improve productivity is to engage in unceasing micro-economic reform.