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« Carnival of the Capitalists | Main | The GDP Grade »


Dave Meleney

Great way to look at growth. Suggests that with better policies some countries could become consistent "A" students. Tho the grades countries'll be getting may waver a lot more than that of most students... they will largely depend on the quality of the policies. China seems to be getting A plus for at least 110 out of the last 120 quarters... and yet so many seem to expect them to take down some F's real soon!

David Tufte

Sorry Dave - I didn't notice this comment earlier.

I don't know that we've got a set of policies that would get us A's consistently anywhere. I think for that sort of policy-oriented cross-country comparison, I'd call an A any quarter in which you beat your population growth by some small cushion (like say 1%). That would be about 3% in the U.S. That wouldn't be quite the same as what I suggested above, but it would make the point that we haven't seriously screwed up the macroeocnomy in a long, long time.

As to China, one of the problems with this sort of system is that it doesn't account for the implications of growth theory that poorer nations should grow faster. So, yet I'd give China A's, but my criterion for them to get an A would be much higher (but would decline as they got richer).

Dave Meleney

Great congratulation on your remarkable success with educational autonomy! But back to grades: Isn't any grading system somewhat arbitrary...but often very useful nonetheless?

Even though our economy is rife with various grading systems... it would still be very good for a Treasury Secretary and a President to expect a GNP grade to appear with great fanfare out of Cambridge or SUU sometime in February of each year.

More importantly, what if Presidents of poor countries were able to crow about an A or an A+ at Davos or the UN? These leaders already keep up on how many palaces and Swiss accounts their peers have, how long shall those remain the primary measures in most poor countries?

Do poorer countries ACTUALLY grow so much faster than others? If so, why not devise grade scales for poor countries and middle ones...and then when a country graduates it becomes a big deal like in European soccer?

Currently, do my neighbors in Denver have any idea what has been going on in Vietnam and Ireland, or who is responsible? Is it foolish to think that people around the world would want to know about the AMAZING accomplishments of Tran Duc Luong if given the appropriate info?


I think this would be most useful for mitigating the spin put on the numbers by most analysts. Using my second grading scale - that matches what is faced by college students - Bush has pulled a 3.5 each of the last 3 years, and a 3.0, a 2.75 the two previous years, after a lousy freshman year.

I'm cynical enough to believe that the adoption of a grading scale like this by the UN would be quickly corrupted, since the countries with low grades have the most votes.

Yes, poorer countries can grow that much faster than developed nations - up to 5 or 10% per year.


Productivity in the private secotr is a wonderful attribute of the free market system--and the US is more free market than other nations, and our borders are wide open for labor, capital, goods and services. That is why we have no inflation, possibly deflation, and will have very little inflation going forward. That is why we are different from Euro nations, or Japan.If we could move more of our economy into the private secotr--by ramping down the USDA, VA, Department of Defense, HUD and Labor for example, we would experience even greater growth.Think about it--private goods and services just get better and cheaper. Military goods and services just get more expensive.Private vs. ossified federal bureaucracy--the private secotr will always prevail.Inflation is dead for several years. Morgan should know that many serious economists believe the CPI overstates inflation. Saying you do not believe the CPI or the GDP deflator moves you towards "faith-based" economic analysis.We don't have general inflation readings as there isn't any. Housing is cheaper than in decades (to buy). Phones are cheaper. Cameras can take 1000 digital pics, no development fees.Hamburgers are $1 at Jack in the Box. What inflation?Oil is set on the NYMEX, and is a cartelized market. Oil can do anything, and not reflect US monetary policy or general prices here. Wheat is wheat. The Chinese are buying gold, they are nuts for gold, they have disposable income. Again, US monetary policy takes a back seat.Bernanke is calling the shots almost right; he is probabloy a little too timid. QE2 could be much bigger--but a long, long bull market has been set up.Habe you looked at corporate profits lately? How can you be gloomypants when you look at corporate profits?


on Thursday, warning that the hrsedat-hit countries could face turmoil.Rising food prices have been cited among the driving forces behind recent popular revolts in north Africa, including the uprising in Egypt and the toppling of Tunisia's long-time president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.And in its latest survey, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said its index which monitors monthly price changes for a variety of staples averaged 231 points in January -- the highest level since records began in 1990."The new figures clearly show that the upward pressure on world food prices is not abating. These high prices are likely to persist in the months to come," FAO economist and grains expert Abdolreza Abbassian said in a statement.The Index rose by 3.4 percent from December -- with big increases in particular for dairy, cereal and oil prices. The rises were most significant in China, India, Indonesia and Russia, data from FAO's monthly report showed."and how about health care costs in the US? that's 1/6 of GDP.


It would just be easier if university's graded by a,b,c,d.

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