FMN: Leading Indicators - A Brief History of Numbers That Rule Our World

Zachary Karabell on Leading Indicators of Success Every day we are bombarded with numbers. Some tell us how we are doing. Others indicate whether the economy is growing or shrinking and whether the future looks bright or dim. Figures showing gross national product, balance of trade, unemployment, inflation and consumer confidence guide our actions, yet few of us know what they mean or why they are so important.

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Book TV After Words: Zachary Karabell, "The Leading Indicators."

There are a set of five economic indicators that have been guiding U.S. economic policy for decades, but most are not understood by the average citizen and, Mr. Karabell argues, are not as relevant today as when they were created. Gross national product, balance of trade, unemployment, inflation and consumer confidence should no longer be the primary basis for business plans or monetary policy, he says, as the technology revolution has made considerably more data available. He talks with Wall Street Journal reporter Kimberly Strassel.

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After Words with Zachary Karabell

Zachary Karabell talked about his book, The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers that Rule Our World, in which he argues that gross national product, balance of trade, unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence should no longer be the primary basis for business plans or monetary policy. He argued that the information revolution has made considerably more data available. He spoke with Wall Street Journal reporter Kimberly Strassel.

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