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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Monday, April 29, 2013

Statistics: Achilles' Heel of Government

Mises Daily: Sunday, April 28, 2013 by Murray N. Rothbard

Ours is truly an Age of Statistics. In a country and an era that worships statistical data as super "scientific," as offering us the keys to all knowledge, a vast supply of data of all shapes and sizes pours forth upon us. Mostly, it pours forth from government.

While private agencies and trade associations do gather and issue some statistics, they are limited to specific wants of specific industries. The vast bulk of statistics is gathered and disseminated by government. The overall statistics of the economy, the popular "gross national product" data that permits every economist to be a soothsayer of business conditions, come from government.

Furthermore, many statistics are by-products of other governmental activities:......The burgeoning of government statistics offers several obvious evils to the libertarian. In the first place, it is clear that too many resources are being channeled into statistics-gathering and statistics-production. Given a wholly free market, the amount of labor, land, and capital resources devoted to statistics would dwindle to a small fraction of the present total. It has been estimated that the federal government alone spends over $48,000,000 on statistics, and that statistical work employs the services of over 10,000 full-time civilian employees of the government.

Hidden Costs of Reporting….To Read More…

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