Friday 24 November 2017

Brendan Keenan: The trouble with statistics

There was more fog than light in the figures for the first three months of this year

AS NO doubt you know, if an object approaches the speed of light, the normal laws of physics start to break down. I learnt last week that, as economic growth approaches zero, the laws of statistics, if not exactly breaking down, become more difficult.

There was certainly more fog than light in the figures for the economy for the first three months of the year. The confusion is mostly to do with the multi-national companies, which have become far more difficult to observe since the selling of relatively simple things like computers began to be be replaced with. . . well, what exactly does Google sell?

Even worse are the companies that don't really sell anything at all, but have set up their headquarters in Ireland; often for reason of pure tax avoidance.

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