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Friday, July 13, 2012

That could create a problem

Sure, the macroeconomic statistics are fiction, but it would be rather hard to make decisions based on them look convincing when they don't even exist:
Istat, the Italian statistics agency, says its resources are strained to breaking point amid the country's tough austerity drive to repair its public finances. From January 2013, the agency - the equivalent of the UK's own Office for National Statistics - warned it will stop putting out any official data, if the government goes ahead with planned budget cuts.

"Spending cuts are putting Istat at risk. From January onwards we will not issue any statistics," Enrico Giovannini, head of the agency, told newspaper La Repubblica.
Zen question of the day: If an economy doesn't have any statistics reported, does economic activity still occur?

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38 Comments:

Anonymous peter_c_anderson@hotmail.com July 13, 2012 3:43 PM  

This is bizarre beyond words.

Anonymous JartStar July 13, 2012 3:43 PM  

It would probably be a good thing if it happened to Spain so they could stop reporting youth unemployment which just reached 51%. Numbers like that stifle the animal spirits.

Anonymous Josh July 13, 2012 3:48 PM  

It shouldn't be that expensive to publish those statistics...how many people do you need to make up numbers on a spreadsheet?

Anonymous Noah B. July 13, 2012 3:55 PM  

Heh, I think I'll start a new malt liquor brand and call it Animal Spirits. That has a good ring to it.

Blogger Professor Hale July 13, 2012 3:55 PM  

Another economics questions: Do state economists cost less if they aren't calculating economic statistics? If their pay is a sunk cost and the data come to them on the internet, How is this saving any money?

Followup: if yo are calculating any state economics statistics, how many state economists do you need?

Blogger Giraffe July 13, 2012 3:58 PM  

Msybe they can borrow our statistics.

Blogger Nate July 13, 2012 4:04 PM  

Yes... in fact... simply ignoring this keynesian idiocy is probably a very good step in the right direction.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick July 13, 2012 4:13 PM  

Mussolini II will come and promise the statistics will come on time.

Anonymous Poli_Mis July 13, 2012 4:20 PM  

If I wanted to hide the rot, this is the first little bureaucracy I would do away with.

Only sweetness and light from this day forward.

Anonymous duckman July 13, 2012 4:29 PM  

Zen question of the day: If an economy doesn't have any statistics reported, does economic activity still occur?

Only in forests where trees fall while no one is around. There's total silence, but lots of economic activity.

Anonymous Stilicho July 13, 2012 4:34 PM  

Perhaps Merkel will lend them some money.

Anonymous Suomynona July 13, 2012 4:37 PM  

So now it's, "lies, damn lies, and, the data isn't available"

Anonymous Vladimir Illyich July 13, 2012 4:42 PM  

The revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat cannot make proper plans without such statistics!

Our Chekists must investigate counter-revolutionary sabotage and wrecking activities in Istat at once!

Anonymous SteveV July 13, 2012 4:43 PM  

This reminds me of the Portland Zoo's response to the passage of a property tax limitation measure for Oregon. The very day after the measure passed, sandwich boards appeared in front of several of the most popular exhibits stating "Due to the passage of Property Tax limitation measure X, this exhibit is closed until further notice"
The animals were still there, mind you. Still requiring the expense food, medical care, etc.
The visitors were just denied the pleasure of observing them.
Pissant liberal behavior.

Anonymous Salt July 13, 2012 4:44 PM  

Zen question of the day: If an economy doesn't have any statistics reported, does economic activity still occur?

Huh! Does Paul Krugman's Nobel prize in Economics have any value?

Anonymous Kriston July 13, 2012 4:44 PM  

If they aren't going to publish statistics from the Office Of Statistics I would make it the Office Of Unemployed Statisticians.

Anonymous jack July 13, 2012 4:53 PM  

I agree with Kriston: If there are no statistics coming out of that office then dismiss the whole dept. from the payroll. Starting with the director. Then, maybe, give the assistant director a chance to come forth with the spreadsheets.

Anonymous Daniel July 13, 2012 4:58 PM  

What do you mean, "create a problem?" This solves a problem: when you are left with no hand to wave, your decisions must stand, on their own, in plain view.

"We must go into more debt in order to prevent statistic x from becoming catastrophic" now becomes an unqualified, straightforward "We must go into more debt."

I honestly believe mobs are stupid enough to fall for the first but revolt against the second.

I wish the U.S. Ministry of Disinformation would enter a similar "crisis."

Anonymous Rantor July 13, 2012 4:59 PM  

Actually, if the statistics have any value whatsoever, a private statistician will set up shop and provide the statistics to his customers for a price.

In America this is called shadowstats.com, which was started because companies could no longer trust, or found decreasing utility in the statistics provided by the federal government.

This could be a great opportunity for some underworked Italian statisticians

Anonymous Daniel July 13, 2012 5:04 PM  

This could be a great opportunity for some underworked Italian statisticians

...or a new biz venture for a certain gadfly economist...

Anonymous The One July 13, 2012 5:04 PM  

Less dishonest to not publish lies

Anonymous Suomynona July 13, 2012 5:18 PM  

The One July 13, 2012 5:04 PM
Less dishonest to not publish lies


Not going on the record is also the best way to not be held accountable. It's basically a, "no comment" response to any questions regarding the economy, or any other vital issue.

Anonymous Mr Green Man July 13, 2012 5:41 PM  

In Detroit, they still mail water bills. They base them on a projection of what the central office thinks you probably used based on how much money they'd like to project they could get. No one lives in the houses, so no one receives the bills, and thus no one pays them. That's OK, because you don't have to pay them if they aren't based on an actual meter reading. They assume that you've contested the reading if you don't pay it. They do not send out meter readers anymore. They instead ask Oakland County to send down some money to repair the infrastructure that is exempt by special dispensation from the Clean Water Act.

Italy should just start publishing random numbers that show year-on-year 5% steady growth and put a small asterisk next to them that they are waiting for Tony to finalize the meter readings some time in the future. They can send these numbers over to Herr Schmidt at the German bank to send some more of that sweet, sweet Euro candy.

Anonymous Lysander Spooner July 13, 2012 5:51 PM  

Elimination of Parasites, who use the political means, will give a robust boost to economic activity. Giovani and his ilk in other countries should be swatted like mosquitoes, and given their due for the blood sucking disease spreading vermin that they are.

Anonymous The One July 13, 2012 6:03 PM  

They are not held accountable anyway Suomynona so I see this as a net positive.

Anonymous Suomynona July 13, 2012 7:01 PM  

The One July 13, 2012 6:03 PM
They are not held accountable anyway Suomynona so I see this as a net positive.


They may not be, but making it impossible to hold anyone responsible for lies as they are no longer going to even bother telling them isn't much of a net positive to me. Ignoring the facts versus covering them up - both ways keep the people in the dark. The fact that the government doesn't see any reason to allocate resources to provide information, or even disinformation, to the populace doesn't lead to more freedom, just more ignorance.

Or perhaps the government came to the realization that there just aren't enough gullible Italians to make their efforts economically justifiable.

Anonymous hideous July 13, 2012 8:17 PM  

Mostly OT: an Austrian economist debates Krugman; Krugman thinks everything that is currently happening is a complete vindication of Keynesian economics...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=N8LmE5cfQKA

Anonymous jerry July 13, 2012 8:18 PM  

Why stop at the finance agency?

Send the whole consigliere home.

Anonymous zen0 July 13, 2012 8:58 PM  

Heh, I think I'll start a new malt liquor brand and call it Animal Spirits. That has a good ring to it.

Animal Spirits....It puts the fur on your tongue.

Anonymous zen0 July 13, 2012 9:12 PM  

Zen question of the day: If an economy doesn't have any statistics reported, does economic activity still occur?

The proper zen answer would be MU!

But in the spirit of play, it is known from the movie Ronin that the map is not the territory.

One can accept this and extrapolate that the stats are not the economy, either.

The economic map makers threaten to strike, thus the economy is one more derivative process from false discovery.

Then let the real explorers do what they did before maps were made by their predecessors.....go forth and seek The Unknown Economy.

Blogger RobertT July 13, 2012 9:46 PM  

Then what is the public benefit of keeping the agency alive at all?

Anonymous Vidad July 13, 2012 9:59 PM  

Suomynona: "So now it's, "lies, damn lies, and, the data isn't available"

That was funny.

Really... what do they think they'll accomplish by this? It certainly won't help attract investors. (Provided there are any of those left in these days of HFTs and The Fed...)

Anonymous Stilicho July 13, 2012 10:32 PM  

Isn't Monti just pulling random numbers out of his posterior anytime he needs one anyway?

It does make an interesting case study though: what action will a bankster puppet technocrat take when he does not have his precious econometrics to provide cover?

a) rely on sound principle (hey, always lead with a joke!)
b) panic
c) ask Lloyd Blankfein what the Vampire Squid needs this week

Anonymous III July 13, 2012 11:29 PM  

A better idea!

An Economic Rationale for Resurrecting Neanderthals

http://hplusmagazine.com/2012/07/03/an-economic-rationale-for-resurrecting-neanderthals/

Anonymous Outlaw X July 14, 2012 1:11 AM  

Zen question of the day: If an economy doesn't have any statistics reported, does economic activity still occur?

The modern "Economy" is for slaves. We have become the milk cows of the bankers. The people are just farm animals. To Hell with the damned economy. Monday morning on your commute think about what I have said then ask yourself why it is this way and how we got here. The revolution starts in the mind when one see's the chains and realizes how they got there. Open that grey matter up and break your conditioning.

You have been lied to.

Anonymous rubberducky July 14, 2012 2:11 AM  

Rule number one for a bureau under seige is to hold its core function or most prominent feature hostage. For instance, if you threaten the budget of the US National Park Service, they will threaten to close Yosemite or the Washington Monument. Bureaus WILL sabotage and betray their core function the instant they feel it's politically advantageous to do so. Bank on it.

Nobody's got the balls to call them on it, despite the great and obvious self-defeating hubris of the bureaus. Italian politicians can easily say, "Your job is to collect accurate statistics. If you can no longer do that, then you no longer have a job." They won't. The media would crucify them if they even entertained the thought.

Anonymous Godfrey July 14, 2012 8:30 AM  

"Zen question of the day: If an economy doesn't have any statistics reported, does economic activity still occur?" - VD

Answer: In the mind of a Statist the answer is "No" because nothing exists outside The State.

... in the beginning there was The State and everything flowed from The State and nothing existed before The State...

Anonymous Stilicho July 14, 2012 10:15 AM  

Animal Spirits....It puts the fur on your tongue.

Good one Zen0. Here's some more:

Animal Spirits: demand it!

Animal Spirits: it's for consumption!

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