The London School of Economics Business Review carried an article today by Neil Monnery about Sir John Cowperthwaite’s aversion to collecting GDP data for Hong Kong.
Titled “Hong Kong’s postwar transformation shows how fewer data can sometimes boost growth” the article describes how Cowperthwaite frustrated any attempts to collect such data, arguing that such information would lead to ill-advised intervention in the economy. He argued that “the availability of such figures might lead, by a reversal of cause and effect, to policies designed to have a direct effect on the economy. I would myself deplore this.”
Asked in retirement what the key thing that poor countries could do to improve their growth. He replied: “they should abolish the office of national statistics.”