“MAMMON, n. The god of the world's leading religion. The chief temple is in the holy city of New York.
He swore that all other religions were gammon,
And wore out his knees in the worship of Mammon.
Well. Times have changed and mammon has gone somewhat out of fashion.
1. Gross Domestic Product is the sum of private consumption, government consumption, capital investments and net exports, which totally disregards the quality of private consumption, the purposefulness of government consumption, the rate of return on investments, and profits from exports.
2. The modern equivalent of the golden calf.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL
GDP = C + G + I + NX, where
C … consumption, which means more cars competing for parking spaces, more clothes in your wife’s wardrobe, more toys all over the floor to keep treading on, and more fat on your tummy and cholesterol in your veins.
G … government consumption; yet more wasteful spending by bureaucrats. Note that the idle recipients of welfare, who are allowed to sleep in their beds while you go about your daily grind, are accounted for as part of C.
I … capital investments, which may mean your eventual replacement by a robot.
NX … net exports, usually a huge negative figure, which means more low quality imports from countries we won’t mention for fear of accusations of political incorrectness, more consumption, and a shrinking domestic manufacturing sector.
CURIOUS FACT: Drugs and prostitution in the British GDP
Under EU rules, Britain will add illegal drug sales and prostitution to its calculation of GDP. The government’s statistics watchdog is set to confirm that Britain makes £10 billion a year from drug dealers and prostitutes. The Office for National Statistics was expected to comply with new European Union rules by revealing its initial estimates of the size of these illegal industries (and how it made the calculation) as early as March 2014. According to The Times, prostitution in Britain is valued at around £3 billion a year and narcotics at £7 billion, with both of them now being factored into the UK’s £1.6 trillion GDP. That’s quite some improvement.
NOTABLE & QUOTABLE
“It once puzzled me that many economists in the financial sector forecast and discussed GDP without knowing what it was. I have since realised the job of market pundits is not to forecast GDP but to forecast what the statistics office will announce is GDP, and that is not at all the same.”
Sorry, mammon. You're just too obsolete.