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Freakonomics and Labour Pains…or, What Economic Crisis?

September 10, 2009

maar01_millardBare with me, this isn’t as boring as it sounds.

Economics is apparently BS.

This is a statement to which one might reasonably be expected to go, “duh”, given our current global economic ‘oopsie-daisy’ situation.

However, I’m the daughter of an Economic Policy Analyst. I like to think his job is somewhat important – he’s been doing it long enough – and I also tend to feel that he does some good with it – if it weren’t for him, and those he works with, the finances the government puts into tourism could end up going to palm tree planting (you can probably see how, in Canada, that might not be the best invesment).

Granted, I don’t know much about economics (I once found Daddy’s masters homework. The yellowing pages had his tiny neat numbers and words like “macro” and “microeconomics” followed by explanations of deindustialization and monopolistic principles. That’s how I found out what he did, and that I would never be following in his footsteps), but, I still like the idea that those in charge of figuring out where the money goes are going to take care of us artsy minded folk who are more interested in how pretty the things we can buy with it are than whether or not we have enough.

That brings me to the following article.

The Coast, “Another Round of BS!”

If you are not inclined to read it, I shall summarize.

Essentially, the Golf industry in Halifax claimed that $650 Million was generated in revenue in a year. As the article aptly says, “Six hundred and fifty million dollars is a hell of a lot of money.”

I think that deserves capitals and a few exclamation points.

$650 MILLION – from GOLF!!!!
In a climate where we have snow for over half the year!! BS! Apparently, if you have a degree in economics (I am only assuming that the people in charge of such figures have degrees) you can kinda make stuff up. Take the real number, then lie. Sorta. Gas to drive to the course? That counts. Martini at the club? Counts.

Ok, lame, but fine. I can see how that goes into the economy, even if not directly through golf stuff.

This is the real clincher:

“Induced spending” also counts. That sounds made up , even for mathy words. Induced spending, like induced labour, sounds pretty forced, don’cha think?

It is. Here’s how it works:

If a golf club is made for $100, then sold to a wholesaler for $150, who sells to a shop for $200, who then sells to Mr. McCullan for $400. Would that club not count as $400 worth of “Revenue”? (and only if it were made in the province).

Not according to economics! That club is worth $85o! Just add up all them-there numbers, and voila! “Gross production”. Otherwise known as lies with a side of creative wordplay – just enough pain-killers to make us less aware of the enormous pain of labour.

Even I could do that math. Remind me again why the economy is failing?

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