Klara Major, the research director of HETFA held a lecture about the concept of today’s one of the most important macroeconomic index number, the GDP, that is the gross domestic product, at the “Sexy Economics” conference of Rajk László College for Advanced Studies.
The birth of GDP, such as many important innovations is related to the Second World War; it reflected the major need to estimate the possibility of further necessary levy backing military expenses and to measure the retrogression caused by the crisis. The prosperity of the period between the 1940s till the end of the 1960s, the spread of the mass production can be regarded as the basis of this index. The approach and the estimation methodology mirror these specialties, if this index shows the total value of the goods in final use – cleared from the price-raising effect of the inflation. Therefore, we can interpret the GDP, as the index of the production expansion, which showed a significantly fast increase in the starting period of the mass production. It is due to the prosperity of this period that many people connect the increase of GDP with economic development till even today.
Klara Major highlighted through the dilemmas of the index’s calculation that calculation methodology of the domestic product has changed several times since the emergence of the concept. These changes are answers given to challenges caused by transformations in the structure of economy. One of these problems was that how the quality improvement of products (e.g. a fridge) can be displayed at the measurement of the domestic product. The challenge of the 21st century is the increase of rate that service sectors mean in the income production, in which case the mechanical application of the index reflecting the specificities of the mass production’s age raises numerous methodological and content questions.