But how reliable are the figures quoted in the articles upon which I base my remarks? The GDP of a country can be increased or decreased at statistical will, it seems. For example, it was recently decided that the GDP of Nigeria was 90 per cent greater than previously thought, making its economy the largest in Africa, overtaking South Africa. If it were suddenly announced that the life expectancy of a population had been revised upward by 90 per cent, we should certainly doubt either the vital statistics of that country or the ontological reality of what was being measured.
To conclude correctly that productivity in Britain had fallen we should have to be certain, first, that the present GDP really was smaller than it was when the crisis broke (and the difference, being small, might well be within the margin of error), and second, that the fact that there were more people in work now than ever before, including when the GDP was at its peak, really meant that more hours were worked than ever before. If more people were in work, however, but working on average fewer hours, it might well be that fewer hours in total were worked despite more people being in employment, and therefore that productivity had risen rather than fallen.
What you believe depends at least as much upon your global apprehension of the situation as upon the statistics. On the train to the airport in England, and at the airport itself, I saw a population that struck me as more militantly ugly and unintelligent than any other known to me, one that consumes without discrimination and enjoys without taste. With regard to ugliness, for example, it added to whatever ugliness Nature had bestowed upon it by refusing to wear any clothes that might possibly lend it any dignity, rather choosing apparel that accentuated its natural unattractiveness. Grossly fat slobs, for example, insisted upon wearing figure-hugging T-shirts that did not quite meet the tops of the shorts that exposed their fat white tattooed calves, exposing their repellent midriffs to the appalled gaze of the minimally sensitive. Of the women it would be kinder not to speak; suffice it to say that they made the men look like Beau Nash or Beau Brummel.
Their taste in everything from food to music and clothes is base, vulgar, stupid, and crude. It is not that they know no better”innocent vulgarity can be amusing and even refreshing”but that they know better and reject and hate it, refuse to aspire to it, and try to intimidate others into abandoning it, with some success, it must be admitted. The productivity of such a nation is unlikely to rise very fast or far. It will be lucky if in the modern world, with so much competition, it achieves stagnation.
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