Sunday, December 29, 2013

GDP and Christmas

Tim Harford has an excellent post that links the measurement of GDP (gross domestic product) to the Christmas season.  The post is both an excellent reminder of what is important, and an excellent description of why measuring important things is hard to do.  It is also an interesting history of GDP. For a sample, here is his concluding paragraph.
But divorces don’t begin at the Office for National Statistics; nor did the Bureau of Labor Statistics start the Vietnam war. GDP has its flaws – but if you give, or receive, a costly, unwanted gift this Christmas, please don’t blame the statisticians.
As for me, none of my Christmas gifts were unwanted.  I very much enjoyed Christmas this year, but not for the gifts given and received, but for the time with family.

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