Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ecological Headstand -- Sandwichman's web log

Sandwichman has his own web log. It's called Ecological Headstand because it stands William Rees's "Ecological Footprint" metaphor on its head. Currently, the focus is more on bibliography than commentary. For example, yesterday the Sandwichman posted a set of key references for a discussion of the politics of social accounting.

Social accounting is what statistics agencies do when they compile the Gross Domestic Product. It's also what employers and unions do, at least implicitly, in collective bargaining. The controversy over "growth" is not new. In fact, it began with the first release of GNP estimates by the U.S. Commerce Department back in 1947 and that first salvo is documented in an exchange between Simon Kuznets and the team from Commerce. What grows? That depends on the objectives of the people who have designed the measurement of national product. Sandwichman will soon be posting a brief summary of the main issues to Ecological Headstand but in the meanwhile,  here's a brain teaser.


Unknown said...

But is undesirable GDP a non-negligible fraction of GDP, and is it an increasing fraction of GDP?

Sandwichman said...

1. Yes and yes.

2. It's also a "policy feature, not a bug." That is to say there are systematic incentives to policy makers to not fix the problem (see "James Carter, malaise speech").