Did You Know?

Interesting facts about life, finances, business; some will debunk common misconceptions.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the vital economy’s performance metrics isn't relevant as the sole measure of economic progress. Simon Kuznets, an economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research, developed the GDP measure after the Great Depression and World War II. His goal was to capture economic production by individuals, companies, and the government in a single measure. He expected it to rise in good times and fall in bad. However, in 1934, in his report (page seven) to the U.S. Congress, on the National Income, 1929-35, Kuznets warned, “The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income.”

In 1907, two teenagers started The American Messenger Company, now United Parcel Service (UPS) in a Seattle basement with a $100 loan. Today, UPS is the world's largest package delivery firm.

The American firm WD-40 makes a product of the same name. If you needed to clear a block drain, you used this penetrating oil, WD-40. What does the name mean? WD for water displacement, and 40, the number of attempts it took to perfect the product. 

Today in North America discussions about minimum wages have political connotaions and ignore reality of low income workers. Minimum wages were meant to be living wages, though the first attempt in 1831 in Lyon, France failed. But New Zealand succeded in 1894. Then 1898, Samuel Gompers, founding president of the American Federation of Labor, published A Minimum Living Wage, an article advocating a legal threshold for wages enough for workers to live. The first legislation in the USA was in 1912 in Massachusetts.

The Great Recession of 2008 lasted 18 months...the longest recession since 1960. Before, the average recession lasted 11 months. Even so we know we are in a recession only in hindsight. So, beware of so-called experts predicting stock markets' direction and recession's lengths.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) states the average recession in the USA since 1854 lasted 17 months. But since World War II, the average was 10 months.