In Germany there is supposedly a hard-ingrained ethic that looks down on anyone who can't get their work done by closing time.
Across Europe people work fewer hours than Americans and yet are, per-hour, more efficient and better paid. Europe still manufactures things, you'll note, and labor-management bargaining is done across whole sectors and is considered normal.
You've hit the nail on the head, as usual. American "productivity" is largely make-work intended to make some boss or another look like they're effective managers. This ethos permeates the government, private companies, the military - America is drenched in it.
You can only understand this country if you play Grand Theft Auto V, I've come to realize.
Find a rich person, work out a way to take what they've got. The new Viking age is upon us and it's them or us (and the planet).
Burn and pillage, folks, burn and pillage :D