Measuring the UK Economy

Prepublication version of ‘Measuring the UK Economy’, in Dorling, D. and Simpson, S. (1999) Statistics and Society, p361-369. London Arnold. ISBN 0 340 71994 X.
This article demonstrates that the System of National Accounts (SNA) implicitly specify a conception of value. They divide all productive activities into those which create value (paid labour and capital, the factors of production) and those which merely transmit pre-existing value such as the state, or which are not treated as creative of value at all, such as unpaid labour. The measures of output derived from the System of National Accounts are consequently not factually neutral or objective but arise from a specific conception of value. As Anwar Shaikh and Ertugrul Tonak have shown, a different concept of value – such as the idea that labour only is productive of value leads to a different set of measures of output arise, both for the economy as a whole and for each sector. The article shows how to transform the national accounts of the UK from their present form to one in which only labour is considered productive of value.

It is in effect the final version of Are Economic Facts Hard or Soft