[Re: Time for MPs to summon statisticians over endless revisions, Friday]
This article misses the point. The problem is not with statisticians, but with politicians and the media (and through them, the markets). They all give disproportionate attention to GDP figures which are, inevitably, far from a precise reflection of what is really going on in the economy. In fact, decimal places should basically be ignored. They give the impression of a higher degree of accuracy than can be reasonably – and meaningfully – achieved in practice. In addition, and perhaps even more important, GDP is essentially a quantity measure. It says nothing about quality, and therefore the nature of the activities that are actually producing the changes. For example, expenditure on greater security measures increases GDP, whereas energy conservation measures reduce it. Also, one of the most significant contributors to GDP growth over the past decade has been the finance and banking sector. Significant staff reductions in this area, over the past couple of years, have contributed to a decline in GDP, despite the trend probably being in the UK’s long term interests. The issue here doesn’t really concern statisticians or the statistics themselves. It has far more to do with the way media commentators, and politicians with vested interests, attempt to misrepresent the data to suit their preconceived prejudices.
Dr Bruce Lloyd, emeritus professor of strategic management, London South Bank University.
To conceive of a tax cut as the government paying the taxpayer shows that Ed Miliband really doesn’t understand private property.
Ed Miliband is a privileged man, who’s lived a privileged life. If he tries to say differently, the media should flay him.
Labour’s Jim Murphy says there’ll be an EU referendum when the post-euro settlement is clear. Which party will get there first?
Depressing Eurozone jobs figures in August 2012. Unemployment is lowest in Austria at 4.5 per cent, and is a full 25.1 per cent in Spain.