What IS a Zeitgeist?
Jerman for "Spirit of the Age". In this case it is to mean the "spirit" of the Utanian
people, the magazine reporting the people's thoughts behind the press-releases and reported
The unknown economy
On November 1st this year, the Reserve Bank of Utania are supposed to have
completed a "measurement" of the Utanian economy which will allow the Federal government of
Utania to take over taxation, revenue-raising and budget management from the states. To date
the only question would be "which figure do you like best?"
Christianan journalist John Lancaster, on assignment in Utania, following the Utanian
election, made an interesting observation to a fellow local journalist recently that had him
astounded. "Why is it, after two months of hard campaigning and electioneering that none of
the candidates has yet offered tax-cuts or targeted spending increases?"
The simple answer, he was told, was that no one, not even the politicians, is brave
enough to guess the size of the federal budget come November. The simple fact is that after
years of being a Guwimith Dependency, no one has the feintest idea.
But, they're getting closer. The Utanian Reserve Bank is charged with the task of
working with UNVCOCN economists to determine the size of the Utanian economy. Until now, all
government spending has been on the basis of loans from the UNV, and from taxes gifted by
the states. On November 1st, that all changes: the (federal) Department of the Treasury will
be responsible for taxation for the entire country, including revenue-raising for the states.
But, without a viable model telling them the size and structure of the economy, how can they
possibly guess whether the tax rates are onerous or too little?
Measuring the unknown
That's where the econometric experts, like Professor David Argent of Vela Luka
University, come into the picture. Argent leads a team of over 30 economists and 200 clerks
collecting, collating and analysing data from company annual reports, tax returns from the
Dependency Taxation Division, and submissions from community-based co-operatives. From this
and other data, they are planning to introduce the first economic model for Utania.
"It is an exhaustive search, but the consequences of getting it wrong could be
somewhat disaterous", Argent says. "If we too heavily tax, say, the manufacturing sector, we
may find a large number of companies going bankrupt. This is not something this country needs
at this time. So we are acutely aware of the consequences of our work."
Unfortunately, ask an economist to tell you the time, and they'll have ten different
ways of telling it. This is the problem to date: not that they can't get a figure, but that
they can't get their various measures to agree. And this is essential.
And so the work continues, measuring the unknown.
Stocks continue to stagnate - when will the Govt. release cash controls?
©Zeitgeist Magazine, 300 AP.
©Mike Ham, 2000. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)