2012 draws to a close with Ireland officially not in recession having posted two consecutive quarters of positive growth: 0.4% and 0.2% respectively. It is also the only bailed out country to have experienced growth this year according to the IMF. Most economists would accept that growth of this level is fairy negligible; and yet the difference between zero growth and 0.1% still appears to matter. Amongst the soul searching, hand wringing and obsession with all things economic that has characterised Irish public debate since 2007, little attention has been given to what the GDP statistic really means. GDP is a measure of the final value of goods and services that an economy produces, so essentially it measures our ability to produce stuff. A dull enough statistic it would seem but few pieces of information receive the attention that GDP does. Politicians fervently await each
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