Facepalm

A serious comment someone left elsewhere:

Yes our GDP is 6 times what it was in 1930. In 1930 the cost of ketchup was $0.09 a dozen eggs was $0.18 pork loin $0.19 lb. Gas was $0.10 gal. Compared to today’s prices the cost of goods has risen by more than 1500% in 85 years, let’s not kid ourself that our GDP is more because we produce more, we don’t, we in fact produce less.

Srsly? Really, trying to say that the US economy produces less now than it did in 1930?

The explanation is obvious, not knowing the difference between real and nominal.

but just to comfort you, this guy has the vote.

33 comments on “Facepalm

  1. I love the way the MSP later tries to twist it to claim he was correct. Him and Murphy are two from the same pod.

  2. Anomaly – apparently he’s “Deputy Convenor” of the Finance Committee in the Scottish Parliament.

    God help them.

  3. “Compared to today’s prices the cost of goods has risen”

    Compared to today’s prices, the cost of goods (today) hasn’t changed – by definition.

  4. Anomaly UK>

    Debt = deficit is a standard trope of neo-Antisemitism. According to that collection of hatred masquerading as economic theories, they’re both forms of gouging by the jooz, which is the only thing that matters in that school of politics.

    Of course, a government running a surplus is _also_ gouging by the jooz, to such types.

  5. After almost any discussion of GDP and growth, even in intelligent professional circles, there is some wag who says “ah, but what about after inflation is taken into account?” I’ve seen a science professor (self-described but good reasons not to doubt it) post “corrected GDP growth” figures in the comments section of a politics blog, in which he took the day’s published GDP results then subtracted CPI. I did try explaining the concept of a GDP deflator, but…

  6. If you only consider physical goods produced per capita then it might be possible more was made in 1930. Since that tells us absolutely nothing useful I’m not going to bother figuring it out.

  7. You see all sorts of clever but wrong (can’t bring myself to say sophist now, damn you Murphy) arguments on how we are all much poorer than our parents, to the point that it’s often easier to revert to anecdote;

    “In the 1980s I had a wee tiny TV, fuck all internet, no dish washer, and had never been on a aeroplane. Now fuck off!”

  8. Dave – “Debt = deficit is a standard trope of neo-Antisemitism. According to that collection of hatred masquerading as economic theories, they’re both forms of gouging by the jooz, which is the only thing that matters in that school of politics.”

    Amazing. Truly amazing.

  9. Debt = deficit is a standard trope of neo-Antisemitism

    Yes indeed, amazing. I suppose the old-fashioned antisemitism was out of date, or perhaps just too easy to identify, what with the broken glass, pogroms, job quotas, and concentration camps.
    Dave, I hate to break it to you, but some people can be thick as two short planks, even without being antisemitic. Every comment on finance, even the spectacularly stupid, is not an attack on “the Jooz.” No doubt, there are people who hate Jews – and there is some overlap between ignorant twats and antisemitism – but your reflexive claim that every damned thing is disguised antisemitism (or even the new, improved “neo” antisemitism, presumably now even more difficult to detect) is tiresome. Moreover, repeatedly raising a baseless charge obscures and dilutes real issues of antisemitism when it does occur.

  10. LY: “If you only consider physical goods produced per capita then it might be possible more was made in 1930.”

    Nope. Not even close, at least not in the West. There may be fewer people engaged in physical manufacturing, but the amount of manufactured goods is way higher. There’s this thing called the Solow residual, and it’s awesome. We found a way of making it non-zero and to a first approximation the Commies didn’t (their growth came from resource exploitation, which is why they are poor and we aren’t).

  11. Alas, the explanation ain’t clear to me. But I aren’t an economist.

    But our level of ‘richness’ is based upon a more or less global economy. So the lad could be right, for all I know.

    But if you measure physical well-being by the quality and cost of what you can get,then Stuff these days is either much cheaper, much better quality for the money (driven a car lately?) or available when it wasn’t back then (TV, iPhone, etc etc etc)

    But it’s a free world, so loonies can call attention to themselves when the want

    (No, I am not one. I decided)

  12. Doesn’t any statement regarding GDP’s past and present require a cracked and misty crystal ball anyway? 😛

    The thing is that if you want to compare economies over those ranges you have to take inflation into account, one way or another. A dollar in the 1930s represented a lot more value than it does now. And stating that for a dollar then you’d need about 15 dollars now doesn’t strike me as all too odd either. Bit low-ish even, if you ask me.

    But it’s not, and never has been, a matter of “multiply A by B, divide by A and compare.” Nothing is that simple, let alone something as complicated as economies in disparate timeframes.
    Especially one that’s gone from an economic powerhouse that could be more or less self-sufficient to one with borrowing and spending habits that, let’s be honest, makes something like Greece look like a rank amateur.

  13. As I pointed out to the comment over there. US GDP is up about 9 times since 1947 (when this particular series starts) *after* we account for inflation. There’s been significant population growth so per capita growth is less than that.

    US nominal GDP, before we try to account for inflation, is up 74 times since 1947. Again, per capita is lower, but we’re really pretty, pretty, sure there’s been some real growth there.

  14. dcardno>

    I hate to break it to you, but not all antisemites are stupid. The likes of David Irving and Nick Griffin have Oxbridge degrees. They tried the old-fashioned glass-breaking, pogroming ways, and that didn’t work (in this country). Then they tried to start a race war using the skinheads, and that didn’t work. They didn’t give up at that point; they got sneaky, went undercover, started using codewords and pretending to be lefties.

    And I suggest you look up neo-antisemitism, it’s definitely a thing and this kind of thing is symptomatic of it.

    Is every single one of the people spouting thinly disguised antisemitic claptrap actually an outright hater of Jews? Of course not. Most are no more than gullible dupes having their prejudices pandered to. But is antisemitism the foundation on which their views are built? Absolutely.

    Given the SNP’s penchant for antisemitism, the vast increase in antisemitic attacks in Scotland since they took power, the Jewish communities fleeing Scotland, and so-on, it’s very hard to seriously argue that those fuckers don’t wholly embrace their antisemitic streak. They’re no different from the BNP, except that they managed to gain some political credibility.

  15. It must be hard to work this stuff out. Compare 1960 and 2015. How much value do we assign to a TV manufactured now and then? Modern TVs are a million (estimation) times better now than then. Does ‘quality’ play any role in estimating GDP?

  16. Yes, it’s called “hedonic adjustment” and we’re pretty sure we undercount these increases in quality.

  17. If the rugby shown on the telly is worse, what’s the point of the telly being a million times better?

    I suppose the answer is that the cricket broadcasts are much improved.

  18. I suppose the answer is that the cricket broadcasts are much improved.

    Hardly. Nothing wrong with Aggers or Blowers, but the people around them are no match for Johnners, CMJ, Arlott, Trueman, the Alderman etc.

  19. Boycott is far more than just a walking Three Yorkshireman sketch. Swann is surely an all-time great? Ed Smith is a very interesting chap. And the likes of Vaughan aren’t exactly dross.

    I’m too young to really remember Johnners. But CMJ only nibbled off fairly recently, and while he’s much missed he’s hardly irreplaceable.

  20. Dave – I realize that not all antisemites are stupid – but the guy were were talking about (who conflates debt and deficit) unquestionably is, or is deliberately missing the point for some reason. The problem is that althoughyou see “thinly disguised anti-semitism” damned-near everywhere, the rest of us see ordinary every day stupidity, mendacity, political opportunism, and all the rest, most of which is completely orthogonal to the person’s attitude towards Jews.

  21. dcardno>

    It doesn’t really matter whether the chap in question hates ‘teh j00z’ or just subscribes to thinly veiled antisemitic claptrap. He’s a fool, or he’s fooled you. Either way, what he’s saying is just thinly veiled antisemitism and deserves to be called-out as such.

    The important point here is that _all_ of this ideology is antisemitic, and those pushing it are pushing antisemitic nonsense _whether they realise it or not_.

  22. BiCR I am now looking into the Solow residual. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    My physical good per capita might be possible argument is based solely on the fact that most products simply aren’t manufactured in the US anymore. To add some actual numbers to this I give you the collapse of the Puerto Rican sugar industry. Currently there is not enough sugar production in Puerto Rico to mention whereas in 1930 it was the most important industry. For this one physical good in a single territory the argument holds. For understanding general economic theory the total Puerto Rican sugar production is a meaningless statistic. What needs to be understood is why the collapse happened, not simply that it did.

    The bigger mistake that the poster made was to cherry pick numbers. 1930 was the beginning of the Great Depression and so many producers were doing everything possible to maintain market share. By the time adjustments are made to account for overall market conditions the numbers won’t be nearly as alarming.

  23. LY>

    “My physical good per capita might be possible argument is based solely on the fact that most products simply aren’t manufactured in the US anymore.”

    Possibly not, measured by quantity, or weight, or some such. But measured by _value_, there’s far more produced in the US these days than in the past. A lot less of it is stuff used by ordinary mass-market consumers, perhaps – I don’t know, you’d have to check the figures – but there’s lots of high-value stuff produced which doesn’t get sold to the general public.

    Mostly, though, we’re just dealing with cognitive dissonance here. I’ve heard people insist until they were blue in the face that the UK no longer makes as many cars as it did when the UK car factories were owned by UK companies, but it’s just claptrap: the actual numbers say very much the opposite, and the only problem is that some people are so invested in their view that they refuse to accept any of the facts which prove it wrong. .

  24. Some figures on the 2015 Scottish plague of anti-semitism:

    It is important not to get these figures out of perspective; there were just 31 reported incidents in total

    I’m no fan of the SNP but they are dim socialists (which, as usual, includes pro-Palestinian) rather than a malicious hotbed of Jew hatred.

    They’ve got the English to loath.

  25. SE>

    What on earth are you citing there? It’s complete nonsense, whatever it is. There were perhaps 31 major incidents of pogrom-like behaviour involving large groups burning Jewish-owned properties?

    There were thousands of attacks on Jewish people in Scotland in 2014-15. Scotland has Europe’s highest rate of hate-crimes, under the SNP.

    You can pretend they’re not just the BNP with a different first initial if you like, but it’s no coincidence so many BNP members joined the SNP instead.

  26. “Possibly not, measured by quantity, or weight, or some such. But measured by _value_,”

    Value is subjective. The TV that I bought in 1994 for $120 which I used until 2011 was a much better value to me than the replacement which cost $500. While the new TV does have a better picture, and more importantly connections that are now in common use, the fact that I have had to open it up and replace capacitors in the power supply means I do not feel it was a better value.

    “there’s lots of high-value stuff produced which doesn’t get sold to the general public”

    And so the general public complains about access to products they actually use. To an electrician it is the screwdriver, not the luxury yacht, which matters.

    “the UK no longer makes as many cars as it did when the UK car factories were owned by UK companies”

    Once again this is a problem of perception. If you look only at the final assembly of a vehicle then currently the UK does produce more cars than it used to. If you include the supply chain I’d guess the opposite is true. Even if you are lucky enough to find non-Chinese rotors that can be turned good luck finding a machine shop to do the work when you need to replace brake pads.

    As my argument is that the original poster’s comment was based on his personal perceptions. Starting with that bias he cherry-picked numbers that would support his case. Whether or not the picked numbers have a semblance of truth in isolation does not mean they are worth considering in the big picture.

  27. Dave,

    Citation needed.

    That quote is from the Scotsman scare-mongering article about the rise of Jockanese facism.

  28. Dave:

    The important point here is that _all_ of this ideology is antisemitic, and those pushing it are pushing antisemitic nonsense _whether they realise it or not_.

    Sorry, but this is not an argument, it is mere assertion re-assertion. I see no more antisemitism in the comment conflating (cumulative) debt with (annual) deficits than in an assertion that football players are too highly paid, or that we have too many kinds of running shoes on the market.
    You insist that you can identify veiled antisemitism in any number of statements, but you have yet to show any connection between the statements (or actions) and any actual antisemitism, veiled or not. The sweeping (and unsupported) claim that an entire class of discussion is antisemitic needs more than your say-so to be convincing.

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