If Only The Guardian Employed An Economist – Instead Of Richard Partington


Richard Partington is the economics correspondent for The Guardian. True, he’s a step up from that bird who ended up at Mashable, but still.

Richard Partington is the Guardian’s economics correspondent.

No one who groks economics is going to write something as silly as this:

But some people have benefited more from growth than others, despite global gross domestic product (GDP) growing by more than 5,000% since the 1960s.

Which tells us something about well Our Dickie groks economics.

We can see what he’s done. He’s gone and looked up global GDP at the two dates. Like, say, the World Bank numbers.

$1.4 trillion to $81 trillion, about 58 times, sure, 5,000%, close enough for jazz.

Not close enough for economics, obviously enough. For no economist is going to use nominal numbers over a period spanning decades. We would – not because we’re economists but because we’re rational – insist upon using real numbers as would economists. Which gives us this rather different chart.

$11 trillion to $80 trillion (note that it’s 2010 dollars, so it’s not the same as the total in 2019 dollars as above) and that’s rather more like 800% growth, perhaps 700% if we’re to be good enough for jazz again.

Yeah, yeah, trivial pendantry, sure enough. Except it isn’t. It’s revealing an ignorance of the basic subjects under discussion.

But then if the Guardian’s economics correspondent knew his economics he wouldn’t be at The Guardian would he? Nor would The Guardian be what The Guardian is….

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