In the current issue (February 25 – March 2 2012) of the Economist, headlining an article about the removal of the official Argentinian Office of Statistics numbers from the magazine’s weekly, authoritative, list:
“Don’t lie to me, Argentina”
It’s also worth quoting part of the article:
“Statistical offices vary in their technical sophistication and ability to resist political pressure. China’s numbers, for example, can be dodgy. Greece underreported its deficit, with disastrous consequences. But on the whole government statisticians arrive at their figures in good faith.”
I put this in the “Bloody hell, I was right” department: when discussing the possibility of Britain entering the euro system, I confessed that I wasn’t sure of the economic consequences, but I was sure I did not trust the alleged economic performances of some of the euro countries. I was right. And I cannot help worrying that, at some point in the future, an important economic decision will be made about the Chinese economy, based on statistics that are dodgy. It’s enough to make you a skeptic, or a pessimist. Or both.