Classic thought on eco numbers from "1984"

Discussion in 'Economics' started by FCCT, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. FCCT


    George Orwell's 1984

    "But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty's
    figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one
    piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing
    with had no connexion with anything in the real world, not even the kind of
    connexion that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much
    a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great
    deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. For
    example, the Ministry of Plenty's forecast had estimated the output of
    boots for the quarter at 145 million pairs. The actual output was given as
    sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked
    the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim
    that the quota had been overfulfilled. In any case, sixty-two millions was
    no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than 145 millions. Very
    likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew
    how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every
    quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps
    half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it was with every
    class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a
    shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become