Thursday, January 19, 2006

Of farms and bullshit

I could not understand how the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) could say that in 2005 the farm sector has “surpassed” its 2004 performance. In 2005, the farm sector grew only by 2.24 percent in real terms (relative to 2004) as against 5.10 in 2004 (relative to 2003). Isn’t that clear enough?

Maybe they used the term “surpassed” to mean that the value of farm production in 2005 at current prices is almost 6 percent higher than the previous year’s figure. That’s true but “performance” is usually associated with growth in output in real terms and not in terms of increments in output. That’s a big difference. No sir! Philippine agriculture did not “surpass” its 2004 performance.

I’m not sure whether or not the BAS is deliberately lying or plain bullshitting. Lying is better because it means it is deliberately hiding the truth and, in effect, affirming it. But bullshitting is worse because it means BAS is telling us something with complete disregard for truth or facts. In his book “On Bullshit,” Princeton-based writer Harry Frankfurt said a bullshitter is he who "does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are."

Nevertheless, a 2.24 percent is good enough considering El Niño that affected a lot of farms. It would surely boost growth of the overall economy. With this level of farm output, a GDP growth rate in the vicinity of 5 percent, given the continuing strength of the manufacturing and the services sectors, is possible.

Note:You may visit Photographs and Memories for my more personal reflections about the world. HAPPY WEEKEND TO ALL!!!

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