Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Is the Stocks Bull Market Over? Dow Trend Forecast into End January 2015 - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold and Silver Stocks Apocalypse Now, Bear Market Review - Rambus_Chartology
3.NHS Baldrick Plan to Spread Ebola Across UK - Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool, London Hospitals - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Ebola Terror Threat Suicide Bio-Weapons Threatens Multiple 9/11's, Global Plague - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Second-Richest Man Says Mortgages Now a "No Brainer" - Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
6.Gold And Silver Still No End In Sight - Michael_Noonan
7.NHS Baldrick Plan to Spread Ebola Across UK - Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool, London Hospitals - Nadeem_Walayat
8.The Gold Bug is Set to Bite Back - EWI
9.How Alibaba Could Capitalize on the EBay-PayPal Split - Frank_Holmes
10.The Consequences of the Economic Peace - John_Mauldin
Last 5 days
Focus on Graphite Companies with Green Energy and Technology Strategies - 22nd Oct 14
Crude Oil Price Hitting Bottom - 22nd Oct 14
Evidence of Another Even More Sweeping U.S. Housing Market Bust Already Starting to Appear - 22nd Oct 14
Gold Or Crushing Paper Debt Stocks Crash? - 22nd Oct 14
India Gold Demand Surges 450% and Bank of Russia Demand At 15 Year High - 22nd Oct 14
Bitcoin Stock Exchange Could Be "More Valuable than Alibaba" - 22nd Oct 14
Currency War - How to Profit from a Stronger U.S. Dollar - 22nd Oct 14
Banks Hold Treasuries and Make Loans- 22nd Oct 14
Gold and Silver Timing is Everything - 22nd Oct 14
Don't Get Ruined by These 10 Popular Investment Myths (Part VII) - 22nd Oct 14
Follow the Baby Boom to Biotech Stock Profits - 22nd Oct 14
Copper, Nickel and Zinc Won't Be Cheap for Long - 22nd Oct 14
How Will We Know That the Gold & Silver Price Bottom Is In? - 21st Oct 14
Is Gold as Dead as Florida Hurricanes? - 21st Oct 14
First Swiss Gold Poll Shows Pro-Gold Side In Lead At 45% - 21st Oct 14
The Similarities Between Germany and China - 21st Oct 14
The REAL Reason Why the Stock Market Turned Down - 21st Oct 14
Petrobras is a 'Scheme, Not a Stock' - 21st Oct 14
Stocks Bear Market Indicator Is Off the Mark - 20th Oct 14
Stock Market Ideal Turning Point is at Hand - 20th Oct 14
Investors Quit Complaining, The Environment is Perfect Right Now - 20th Oct 14
Ebola Armageddon Could Trigger a Rebirth in Gold and Silver Prices - 20th Oct 14
Gold vs Euro Risk Due To Possible Return of Italian Lira - Drachmas, Escudos, Pesetas and Punts? - 20th Oct 14
Stocks Rebounded Following Recent Sell-Off, But Will It Last? - 20th Oct 14
U.S. Responsible for West Africa Ebola Outbreak Says Liberian Scientist - 20th Oct 14
Stock Market Intermediate B Wave has Started - 20th Oct 14
Gold Stocks Analysis – FNV, CG, NCM, SBM - 19th Oct 14
Stock Market Primary IV Wave Counter Trend Rally - 19th Oct 14
Gold And Silver - Financial World: House Of Cards Built On Sand - 18th Oct 14
Anatomy of a Stock Market Sell-Off - 18th Oct 14
Why OPEC Has Declared an Oil War on Russia - 18th Oct 14
Gold and Silver Extreme Shorting Peaks - 18th Oct 14
Bitcoin Price Fall to $350? - 18th Oct 14
Tesco Supermarket Crisis Worse To Come as Customers Vanish! - 18th Oct 14
Sheffield Roma Crisis School Place Application's Fraud Perfect Storm - 17th Oct 14
Stock Markets, Commodities and Indicators - 17th Oct 14
“Save Our Swiss Gold ” - Game Changer For Gold? - 17th Oct 14
How to Trade the Ebola Stock Market Sell-Off - 17th Oct 14
When... Not if... Crude Oil Price Drops Below $70 - 17th Oct 14
Either You're The Butcher or You're The Cattle - 17th Oct 14
Gold Benefits from Market Uncertainty - 17th Oct 14
Stock Market Pullback Underway, Euro downside, Commodities - 17th Oct 14
Stock Market Seven Year Cycle and A Correction Ahead? - 17th Oct 14
Three Ways to Play Uranium: Top Stock Picks - 17th Oct 14
America Flirts With Deflation - 17th Oct 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Stocks Epic Bear Market

Inconvenient Truth About Government Economic Statistics

Economics / Recession 2008 - 2010 Jul 20, 2009 - 09:29 AM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleLarry Summers: I'm Feeling Lucky - Type "rubbish economist" into Google. Then hit "I'm Feeling Lucky"...

The INCOVENIENT TRUTH about statistics, as Al Gore would no doubt confess if you threatened to stop him flying, is they look backwards, not forwards – and not even quite to the present.


That's as true of last-quarter earnings as it is of GDP. You're left guessing what today's outcome will be, right up until it becomes historic and you can try to claim it as fact. Even "up-to-the-minute" inputs have to exclude the very minute we're in, and corduroy-patch models like Greg Mankiw at Harvard should know this. So too should his chum, the White House's own Larry Summers.
 
Yet Summers – formerly head of Bill Clinton's Treasury and also of Harvard University, before coming back as Obama's chief economic advisor – used a speech on Friday to highlight a statistic that suggests he's forgotten the basics of empirical research. (Previous gaffes already said he'd forgotten to use sound judgment in public.) Bundling himself into blind fortune's get-away car, he told the Peterson Institute for International Economics that it shows "the economic free-fall has ended."
 
What is this killer stat? "The number of people searching for the term 'economic depression' on Google is down to normal levels," he's quoted by Politico.com.



Hurray for Larry!

As you can see, searches for the term "economic depression" were apparently four times their typical level coming into 2009, as Summers noted at the start of the year.

The search-engine depression was greater still as Larry dusted off his Team America badge ahead of last November's election. But now, "The recent shift goes to show consumer confidence is higher," he claimed last week.

"If we were at the brink of catastrophe at the beginning of the year, we have walked some substantial distance back from the abyss."

Now, let's forget how absurd it might be to base an economic conclusion on the broad pattern of Google searches. Never mind that on Summers' logic, Led Zeppelin were never so popular as in late 2007...demand for food stamps is now in a secular bull market...and the campaign to "free viagra" – that famous political prisoner – hasn't been this hot since 2004.

(Larry himself shows a very erratic pattern on Google Trends, but unlike him, we guess here at BullionVault that it doesn't mean much.)

No, the real trouble with Summers' thesis is that the data series has yet to end.



Ooops! Just look what's crept into the data since Larry last checked and the start of July entered Google's query results.

Yes, Summers' own comments helped push that spike higher, of course. Google Trends confirms it on a 30-day chart. But he was only adding on Friday to a clear new uptrend in people searching for the dread phrase. And besides, Obama's advisor is only driving us back to the abyss himself, back to the brink of catastrophe, if he really believes this marker counts for something.

Better leave that forced march to the Treasury and Fed instead.

By Adrian Ash
BullionVault.com

Gold price chart, no delay | Free Report: 5 Myths of the Gold Market
City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and a regular contributor to MoneyWeek magazine, Adrian Ash is the editor of Gold News and head of research at www.BullionVault.com , giving you direct access to investment gold, vaulted in Zurich , on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

(c) BullionVault 2009

Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.

Adrian Ash Archive

© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014