economic indicator bugs

Here’s a somewhat obscure item but it illustrates just how much technology can affect every part of society and it fits in well with the globalization articles.

Statistics Canada regularly calculates various economic indicators for Canada, including the the GDP and the trade surplus. According to this report, a technical glitch caused the most recent reported trade surplus to be off by almost $4 billion!! They claim the technical problem has now been corrected. But not before it created a chain reaction of events, including the miscalculation of the US GDP, which is aparently calculated by US officials using Canadian data.

The global economic system has become intensely dependent on computerized data management and data transmission systems. As financial services become more integrated and the movement of capital and goods increases in speed, this dependence will only increase. So many millions of numbers floating out there, good thing they only get confused once in a while.

One Response to “economic indicator bugs”

  1. jennifer says:

    It’s not only economic numbers we need to worry about getting “confused” or even lost “out there”. There is so much other information kept on computers too that there may come a point where pure havoc would erupt if we had a worrld wide computer crashing event (whatever that may be). Medical records are becoming more and more digitized, academic records (minerva better not be the only place my transcript exists!), travel information… the list goes on.