Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 23 May 2014

Hookers And Blow - Italy will include prostitution and illegal drug sales in the GDP calculation this year -

 Hookers And Blow - Italy will include prostitution and illegal drug sales in the GDP calculation this year - 

A year ago it was the US which first "boosted" America's GDP by $500 billion - literally out of thin air - when it arbitrarily decided to include "intangibles" to the components that 'make up' GDP (in the process cutting over 5% from the US Debt/GDP ratio). Then Spain joined the fray. Then Greece. Then the UK. Then Nigeria, which showed those deveoped Keynesian basket cases how it is really done, when it doubled the size of its GDP overnight when it decided to change the base year of its GDP calculations. Now it is Italy's turn, and like everything else Italy does, this latest "revision" of the definition of GDP easily wins in the style points category. As Bloomberg reports, "Italy will include prostitution and illegal drug sales in the gross domestic product calculation this year." Yup: blow and hookers. And that, ladies and gents, how it's done.

Alas for Keynesian economists everywhere, since this "adjustment" largely shows that what one includes in GDP is now absolutely meaningless and for lack of a better word, a joke, it also means that the core concept of economic growth measurement has now officially jumped the shark.

But at least one will get a laugh out of the Italian GDP line items for hookers and blow. Bloomberg has the full story:

Drugs, prostitution and smuggling will be part of GDP as of 2014 and prior-year figures will be adjusted to reflect the change in methodology, the Istat national statistics office said today. The revision was made to comply with European Union rules, it said.

Renzi, 39, is committed to narrowing Italy’s deficit to 2.6 percent of GDP this year, a task that’s easier if output is boosted by portions of the underground economy that previously went uncounted. Four recessions in the last 13 years left Italy’s GDP at 1.56 trillion euros ($2.13 trillion) last year, 2 percent lower than in 2001 after adjusting for inflation.
The punchline:

“Even if the impact is hard to quantify, it’s obvious it will have a positive impact on GDP,” said Giuseppe Di Taranto, economist and professor of financial history at Rome’s Luiss University. “Therefore Renzi will have a greater margin this year to spend” without breaching the deficit limit, he said.
And that's what it is all about: literally making numbers up allowing the government to spend even more money it doesn't have on ridiculous political schemes, kickbacks, crony deals and corruption, and then when the people start to riot, blaming it all on "austerity."


Doctors Urge 'Fist-Bumps' Instead Of Handshakes To Prevent Illnesses... -

Doctors Urge 'Fist-Bumps' Instead Of Handshakes To Prevent Illnesses... - 

It’s one of the oldest greetings. A way to develop trust, the handshake is the universal sign of a deal. But some healthcare facilities are now urging their employees to do away with the handshake.
“My informal policy is if you’re sick, I don’t shake your hand, but there’s not a formal policy here,” said Dr. Brad Jones of his Irving-based medical office. The Baylor physician admits he’s strict about hygiene.
A recent article from the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that “handshake free zones” are a healthier alternative than what’s considered the norm. The article states that there’s a well-established link between hand transmission of pathogens and disease.
The JAMA article said the common cold, flu and and transmission of Clostridium bacteria and Norovirus can result from a simple handshake. Thus, healthcare professionals are faced with finding a solution. And what they have come up with is yet another universal greeting, only this time, on the basketball court or football field. Health care workers suggest a simple wave, a hand over the heart, even a fist-bump, is much better than a traditional handshake.
“It’s probably a good initiative, but it’s going to be hard to implement,” said Dr. Jones.
Replacing handshakes with fist-bumps may come off as unprofessional, or even rude. Therein lies the problem. But JAMA even goes so far as to suggest that handshakes could eventually become as socially taboo as smoking. Until then, old school methods will have to suffice.
“We have hand sanitizer everywhere and wash our hands as much as we can,” said physician office representative Alicia Saxon.

Read more -