ukstats - Economist.com Page 1 of 2 About sponsorship The...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
The importance of statistics Lies, damned lies Mar 1st 2007 From The Economist print edition Government figures must be trustworthy. Britain's new system does not pass that test JOHN COWPERTHWAITE, the British civil servant who ran Hong Kong's finances from 1961 to 1971 and helped create its free-market economy, despised statistics. Governments should not collect them, he said, lest they be provoked into attempting to remedy perceived ills—and mess things up. Nowadays not many share his views. The UN says every country should have a national statistics office, governed by a statistics law to guarantee quality and independence. The OECD's comparisons of national figures on health, education and economic activity are used to encourage laggards. Countries that have managed until now to produce statistics with no specific legal framework, including Britain, are increasingly strengthening their statistical systems with legislation. Cowperthwaite's suspicions notwithstanding, this is surely a good thing. Of course, the odd official number will encourage the odd government to do something foolish, but they have plenty of other provocations. Far from
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/11/2009 for the course ECON 102 taught by Professor Serra during the Winter '08 term at UCLA.

Page1 / 2

ukstats - Economist.com Page 1 of 2 About sponsorship The...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online