Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
In older (1900-ish) encyklopedias GDP is not mentioned, however national wealth is. National wealth is a term describing the amount of stuff (railroads, livestock, houses, TVs, computers) that a country has within its borders. More stuff/capita = richer. A problem with the concept (it is admitted in those encyklopedias) is that it is very hard to measure, lots of stuff would need counting.

I am guessing (and I would appreciate being corrected if I am wrong) that GDP emerged or at least became important around the time that computerised records of transactionbased taxes came into existence. Suddenly it was very easy to calculate the tax base in a society. Fun for economists who wanted to do models. And a growing tax base/capita is important as it allows politicians to serve free lunches, in way of lowering taxe rates and keeping the same service or increasing service and keeping the same taxe rates. But tax base sounds so mundane, lets call it GDP.

(Frequent readers of ET may already have read this in some other comment.)

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by A swedish kind of death on Thu Mar 13th, 2008 at 03:08:32 AM EST
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