What is this thing called GDP?

The government is due to announce the latest GDP figures shortly. And I care about this because?

I don’t know that I do. But I was prompted to think about it after our car was broken into last week. Midnight visitors broke into several cars in our street in the middle of the night and removed miscellaneous things from them. In our case it was the airbag.

The police informed us that sub-scrupulous wreckers have been known to provide “shopping lists” of items they will pay for, no questions asked. They use these to refurbish cars cheaply and flog them off. Airbags, being expensive, are a hot item.

We are insured and the car is currently being refitted with a new airbag and having the crowbarred passenger door sorted out. Insurance has paid for a hire car. We could have done without the $500 excess however.

What does this have to do with GDP?

Well, it occurred to me that our nocturnal visitors have generated quite a bit of economic activity. Car repairers, car hirers, insurance assessors have been employed in the process. These in turn use various disposable items such as paint, paper, petrol and lots of other things beginning with the letter ‘p’. If they are ever caught (ha!) the courts will come into play with judges, clerks, lawyers and of course sundry letter ‘p’ items – pens, pencils, paper, printers, photocopiers, pinot and so forth.
In other words, the GDP has increased as a result of all these activities. Thus, one could argue, crime is an important part of our economy, generating wealth all round. Except for the victims of course.

It is as I suspected. Economics is a bloody stupid discipline.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 5th, 2006 at 11:09 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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