Those arts graduates again

Like the mayors of all big cities, there was an international dimension to his office and in 1992 Dinkins visited the Canary Wharf development in London to promote New York as an international business centre. “In many industries, a leading company can hardly afford not to have a presence in the Big Apple,” said the mayor of a city with more than seven million residents and a budget of $30 million.

Only out by three orders of magnitude on that budget there.

8 thoughts on “Those arts graduates again”

  1. Hah! Particularly like how two figures in millions are given right next to each other so the failure is obvious.

    Serious question though.

    Just where in the world would you have to go to find a place where the local authority’s budget for services comes in at 4 dollars per capita? (For comparability, let’s say a similar range of services to what NYC itself offers – NYC isn’t actually responsible for providing a health care system for example, or various bits and bobs that either NY state or the federal government stump up for.)

    I don’t know exactly what Lagos has to provide to its inhabitants but the local authority budget of about 3 billion dollars for about 15 million people is still about 200 dollars per head. For 4 dollars I reckon you’d have be looking at some pretty terrible places.

    So alternatively how far back in history would you have to go, inflation-adjusted or whatever? Even the Roman Empire had a GDP per capita of 500ish dollars.

  2. And it seems some estimates of local/national government share of GDP in the Roman Empire are in the region of 5% (doesn’t seem crazy eg in comparison to Victorian Britain) so that’s circa 25 dollars, and my guess (albeit only a guess) is that a decent chunk of that would be municipal spending rather than empire-level stuff.

  3. @GC

    Dunno, I mean putting million and million next to each other makes the error pretty clear even if you don’t know what a million actually is. And it is only billions and trillions and above where UK and US ever differed, millions was always six zeros both sides of the ponds. Moreover the UK switched over in the seventies so the overwhelming majority of journos will have been taught the current (ie historically American) system.

    Might just be a typo but still takes an absence of critical thinking not to spot there’s a problem with it.

  4. But if you are a complete pillock, you’ll copy the numbers from the html, not noting that they are expressed in thousands of dollars, rather than dollars. It’s an easy mistake to make if you have no idea at all what you are writing about. Which is, of course, why they have a paying job at a major UK newspaper.

  5. I think we ought to talk about (Mega|Giga|Tera)(dollars|pounds). Save a lot of trouble. After all we do do $20k etc. Before long we’ll be into Petadollars too when Sleepy Joe is bamboozled into Green New Deal.

  6. Davy Dinkins was the one who left NY in such a mess that Rudy Giuliani, brilliant though he is, couldn’t help looking like the new Jesus Christ.

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