Measuring African GDP: "Africa's statistical tragedy",

that's what Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank's Chief Economist for Africa, called the current state of affairs.

GDP is often critiqued for being an inappropriate measure of "what counts", but recent studies have shown even worse: in Africa, what GDP is supposed to measure contains errors of 50%-100%, and these errors change over time and country. As a consequency, many economic studies based on econometric methods are rendered useless.

This is what this book that came out last month is about: Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It.

You can also listen to the author in a Podcast episode (Jerven on Measuring African Poverty and Progress), or read his article in the guardian.

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