Chapter 4Calculate True Returns

Business exists to create returns, usually in the form of revenues, profits, and dividends. As accountants harvest the relevant financial numbers, business leaders, financial analysts, and investors use them to track and guide the performance of a given business. Economists then use the information to determine whether, collectively, we are going up or down, forward or backward. This is important work, but the apparent obsession of most economists with a single measure for success, gross domestic product (GDP), began to look even more threadbare as the Great Recession hit its stride in 2008.

“Economists were like medieval priests who had a special relationship with God and spoke in Latin to the average punter, ...

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