Why does economic power grow with each major revision by the statisticians?
When Germans came to their offices on Thursday morning, they found they were both richer and poorer than before, thanks entirely to the Federal Statistics Office. The office announced that the nation’s economy shrank slightly in the second quarter compared with the first three months of the year, yet a revision of the method for calculating the gross domestic product led to an overall economic performance that is 3 percent higher than before the revisions, or roughly €80 billion ($107 billion). That translates to €1,000 per German citizen.
There is reason to celebrate. Our percentage of national debt is declining, we are investing more, tax rates and federal expenditures have dropped along with our much-criticized high current account surplus.
The goal of the extensive statistical revision throughout Europe is to provide a more accurate picture of reality. The statisticians assure us that better account will be taken of altered economic circumstances, problematic issues and the wishes of people who use the data.