[Marxism] Reliability of Data

i.lagardien-alumni at lse.ac.uk i.lagardien-alumni at lse.ac.uk
Sun Mar 19 14:45:59 MST 2006

The note below, came from another list I subscribe to... Question: Why is it that we (leftists) tend to rely on World Bank and Economist data. Are there any Marxis sources for reliable data? Is it because most of us tend to be post-positivist that we do not focus on quantitative data? Are the World Bank and The Economist (among other establishment/capitalist sources) reliable? Why are they more reliable than others?

I have always found the World Bank's Annual Reports a treasure house of 
statistics, though you could probably find documentation in other 
places like the Review of African Political Economy. I also often find 
the Economist useful for data. I often do not agree with them, but 
their reporting is excellent.

The best effort to put the economic issues of the crisis in terms 
understandable by layman and undergraduates is a talk Gerry Helleiner 
did about four or five years ago, which was published in the Canadian 
Journal of African Studies in about 2003.

While I do not make excuses for irresponsable African leaders, I think 
that the crucial variable was the very high interest rates of the early 
Reagan years. Reagan wanted to cut taxes and control inflation at the 
same time.  African countries that had to renegotiate debts found 
interest rates had doubled or tripled. Even countries that had tried to 
avoid the debt trap, like Tanzania,  were caught in it.


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