2018년 2월 7일 수요일

[탐색] Kuznets and GDP counting, and Roosevelt's early decisions



※ 발췌 (excerpts):

출처 1: .... 구글도서

THE OFFICIAL ESTIMATE OF 1934

The results of Kuznets's calculations were presented in 1934 as a Senate publication entitled ^National Income, 1929-1932^. It was an attempt to describe the entre activity of the economy from the income side, and the data painted a dramatic picture. National income had fallen by half, income from production had fallen by 70%, and income from construction had dropped by 80%. Only the public sector had grown. Wage earners had had to accept bigger cuts than salaried employees.

As clear as the figures themselves were, Kuznets warned of the danger of overestimating their informative value. The report repeatedly stressed that different definitions inevitably lead to different results. This was particularly so in the case of the approach taken, which saw the market reflected in national income, and thus accorded market prices a key role. However, Kuznets emphasized, no meaningful information about economic welfare could be gleaned without an accurate analysis of the distribution situation. Kuznets's overall assessment was that no conclusion about economic welfare could be drawn using the figures provided.

Kuznets was well aware of the danger and political risk the compilation of his data involved. He warned:

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Kuznets used two definitions of national income. On the one hand, there was the "national income produced," and on the other, the "national income paid out." The differece was that national income produced included the amount companies saved─the difference between profits and payments in the form of wages and salaries, dividends, and interest rate payments. National income paid out referred solely to income channeled into production factors. The first measurement was therefore more comprehensive, as it took into account the part of the profits that was not paid out.

National income produced represented the value of the current production of goods and services after deducting depreciation, and was identical to the net national product at market prices. That, in turn, was defined as the income available for consumption and investment. In the course of the 1930s, this definition was gradually established in publications and , for reasons of simplicity, was subsequently referred to only as national product.

The report showed that, starting in 1930s, companies had started dipping into savings. They either tapped their financial reserves and provisions or went into debt to carry on production, because costs were greater than their income. This means that national income paid out was greater than national income produced─a clear, and numerically proven, sign of economic crisis.

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INITIAL POLITICAL SUCCESS

The Department of Commerce made efforts to ensure that estimates were regularly made on behalf of the government, even after Kuznets stopped working for the department, in 1934. ( ... ... )

( ... ... ) Because national income was a category that the government had recognized from the outset as being meaningful statistical information, it also quickly acquired a prominent place in political debates. The view that progress could be measured using national income soon became commonplace.

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KEYNES AND THE TRIUMPHAL FORWARD MARCH OF GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT

The national income, which the Department of Commece used to produce official government figures, was calculated using the Kuznets method and was independent of Keynesian theory. Nor was there any system of accounts, as was the case with Meade and Stone. Gradually, however, criticism of Kuznets's method of calculation began to emerge─not least among those associated with the government. An appeciable number of politicians and academics subscribed to Keynesianism and wanted information about relevant economic aggregates, which the Department of Commerce could not provide with its method of calculation. Hand and hand with this was the establishment of the concept of gross national product, precisely the Keynesians in the government.

As early as 1934, in a project ( ... ... ) Clark Warburton from the Brookings Institution had attempted to calculate the value of all end products and services. He also was the first to call this gross national product. Warburton's estimates included far more factors than the national income calculation used by Kuznets and others. Among other things, Warburton included government spending.

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출처 2: The Economy's Missing Metrics (Adam Davidson, NYT, Jul 2015)

In the 1930s, at the NBER, Kuznets amassed whatever data he could from industry sources and others and built the first comprehensive statistical model of an economy. Kuznets is seen around the world as the founding father of gross domestic product, and of national accounts more generally. But he didn't like that honorific. In his 1971 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Kuznets denigrated his accomplishment. He pointed out that government data doesn''t measure what really matters. It has no metric for "pollution and other negative results of mass production." It doesn't tell us if the country's people have more mobility and freedom, more time to spend with family or to pursue pleasures or passions that don't generate income. Throughout his career, Kuznets argued that military armaments should be heavily discounted in GDP measures, because, by design, they destroy the world rather than build it up.

He sounded, at times, like a starry-eyed hippie. And that is certainly how he was viewed by the bureaucrats who set up our national accounting systems during the 1940s. ( ... ... ) Kuznets won the intellectual war, but he lost the practical battle. ( ... ... )

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