National Income accounting at times of war


The crucial question: does war spending purchase a final good and hence belong in GNP, or an intermediate good and hence not belong?


If you find this sentence even remotely interesting, click through and you won't be disappointed. Here's the abstract, complete with Von Mises quote:

Relying on standard measures of macroeconomic performance, historians and economists believe that “war prosperity” prevailed in the United States during World War II. This belief is ill-founded, because it does not recognize that the United States had a command economy during the war. From 1942 to 1946 some macroeconomic performance measures are statistically inaccurate; others are conceptually inappropriate. A better grounded interpretation is that during the war the economy was a huge arsenal in which the well-being of consumers deteriorated. After the war genuine prosperity returned for the first time since 1929. “War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings.” —Ludwig von Mises


And here's another interesting paragraph (more planes than tanks?):

From mid-1940 to mid-1945 munitions makers produced 86,338 tanks; 297,000 airplanes; 17,400,000 rifles, carbines, and sidearms; 315,000 pieces of field artillery and mortars; 4,200,000 tons of artillery shells; 41,400,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition; 64,500 landing vessels; 6,500 other navy ships; 5,400 cargo ships and transports; and vast amounts of other munitions. Despite countless administrative mistakes, frustrations, and turf battles, the command economy worked. But, as always, a command economy can be said to work only in the sense that it turns out what the authorities demand.

2 comments:

  1. joy Says:

    Comment about National Accounting and Economic Policy:This volume reflects the pioneering contribution of Nancy and Richard Ruggles to the development of national accounts. It provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of national accounting systems over the last fifty years.The book is divided into three parts: the evolution and concepts of national accounting, the United States national accounts, and the United Nations system of national accounts. The authors look at the treatment of pensions, insurance, and value added in national accounting, and the relationship between national income accounting and economic policy. They then look at the conceptual basis and evolution of national accounting systems in the United States between 1947 and 1977 and at the integrated economic accounts between 1947 and 1980. Finally, the book includes a review of the major issues in the United Nations system of national accounts, both in terms of measurement and in their applicability to economies in transition and developing countries.
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