Found! An actually interesting Wikileaks, and tellingly it’s not actually about the US, but an actually closed government: China.This one specifically goes after the veracity of Chinese GDP which is described as “man made” (via FT Alphaville)
3. (C) Describing some of the challenges he faces as Party Secretary, Li [Liaoning Party Secretary] related that despite brisk economic growth of
SIPDIS 12.8 per cent in 2006, Liaoning’s income gaps remain severe. Liaoning ranks among the top 10 Chinese provinces in terms of per capita GDP, yet the number of its urban residents on welfare is among the highest in the country and average urban disposable income is below the national average. By contrast, rural disposable incomes are above the national average. Even so, incomes for Liaoning farmers are only half that of urban residents.
4. (C) GDP figures are “man-made” and therefore unreliable, Li said. When evaluating Liaoning’s economy, he focuses on three figures:
1) electricity consumption, which was up 10 per cent in Liaoning last year;
2) volume of rail cargo, which is fairly accurate because fees are charged for each unit of weight; and
3) amount of loans disbursed, which also tends to be accurate given the interest fees charged. By looking at these three figures, Li said he can measure with relative accuracy the speed of economic growth. All other figures, especially GDP statistics, are “for reference only,” he said smiling.
The note about GDP being built off of amount of loans disbursed is particularly interesting, since this input is likely to be choked off (well, Beijing says they’ll be cooled. Who knows what will happen in practice?).
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