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How’s your GDP doing?


The mother of all economic indicators may need a facelift.

The mother of all economic indicators may need a facelift. The benchmark concept of national accounts – the Gross Domestic Product – is widely attributed to economist Simon Kuznets, who was born in Belarus and emigrated to the United States at age 19.

Kuznets, who later won a Nobel Prize for his work, was quick to warn that he hadn’t invented the wheel: “The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income”, he said in 1934, shortly before delivering to the US Congress a whole new way of understanding the Great Depression. GDP had fallen by half, according to his innovative figures.

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