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Random Observations for Students of Economics
The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, including Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people.That fact is not really surprising, as many people live hand-to-mouth with hardly any accumulated wealth at all. But the headline makes a stronger claim:
Half of the World’s Wealth Is In the Hands of Just Eight MenOf course, this conclusion does not follow from the fact reported in the story and is not even close to being true.
My students have the pleasure to use your economics textbook. I have one question: where the symbol "Y" for GDP comes from? All the others, we could detect, such as NX , NCO, etc. My students are curious, and I could not give them a good answer.
To be honest, I don't know. It is an old convention to use Y to denote real GDP, and I am just following that. But I don't know where or why the convention began.If anyone knows the history and reason for this notation, please email me.
I thought it was well understood that 'Y' is the symbol for real GDP because it is short for "Income" as in "National Income." Since 'I' is already used for other macroeconomic variables, we use the letter that is phonemically or orthographically related to 'I,' namely 'Y' (which is known in languages like French and Spanish as "Greek i").
The earliest reference to GDP as "Y" I could find is Kalecki 1937. The first articles to formalize the IS-LM model (Hicks 1937, Harrod 1937, Meade 1937) all seem to refer to national income as "I" (for income), and Cobb Douglas (1928) calls it "P" (for production). I'd be curious to see if anyone can find an earlier reference to "Y" than Kalecki 1937. It appears there as Y=f(I) (income as a function of investment), which seems like a vote in favor of the y=f(x) argument (but I agree that's not a very satisfying explanation).