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GO Ahead: Make My Day!

 “By integrating the vital role of the supply chain into national income accounting, Mark Skousen’s development of gross output (GO) has created a…



 “By integrating the vital role of the supply chain into national income accounting, Mark Skousen’s development of gross output (GO) has created a more dynamic and broader view of the economy, and of the central role that business plays in national income, the business cycle and economic growth. I recommend that economists seriously consider his new approach to macroeconomics.” — Finn Kydland, winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Economics

My Gross Output (GO) statistic came out today and it tells a very different story than GDP. While GDP continues to grow, GO hardly grew at all. Indeed, it is warning that a recession is coming our way.

Today, the federal government (the Bureau of Economic Analysis or BEA) also released fourth-quarter data which suggest that the Fed’s aggressive tight-money policy is working — price inflation is coming down. However, the report also suggests that we are headed into a recession in 2023.

While real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.6% in the fourth quarter, gross output (GO) — which measures spending at all stages of production — grew only by 1% or less. And business (B2B) spending actually declined 5% in real terms in the fourth quarter. (See the chart below.)

My studies show that whenever GO grows at a slower pace than GDP, it suggests a slowdown or recession is in the future.

Right now, the GO model is sending out warning signals: A Recession is Ahead! 

The Fed’s anti-inflation policy has already engineered a bear market on Wall Street, and last month, we saw serious banking crisis. A recession is just around the corner in 2023.

But there is a silver lining in the BEA release. The GO price deflator shows price inflation in the supply chain almost coming to an end in the fourth-quarter. It was increasing at double-digit-percentage rates a year ago, but now it’s down to 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2022.

What Every Investor Needs to Know About GO

Since writing “The Structure of Production” in 1990, I’ve urged economists to measure spending at all stages of production, including the all-important supply chain, rather than just gross domestic product (GDP), which measures final output only. (Copies of my book are available on Kindle for $16.50 or paperback for $28 on Amazon.)

In my mind, leaving out the supply chain is a major sin of omission. It’s larger than GDP itself!

Just as publicly-traded companies report a “top line” (sales/revenues) and a “bottom line” (profits) every quarter, so too should the economics profession report a top line and bottom line in national income accounting.

In April 2014, the enlightened staff at the BEA, led by Steven Landefeld, came to the same conclusion and began publishing GO, along with GDP, every quarter. The economics profession had finally caught up with the accounting and finance departments.

As Nobel-Prize-winning economist William Nordhaus, along with Harvard economist Dale Jorgensen and BEA director Steven Landefeld, wrote in their book “A New Architecture for U.S. National Accounts,” “Gross output [GO] is the natural measure of the production sector, while net output [GDP] is appropriate as a measure of welfare. Both are required in a complete system of accounts.”

What Does GO Tell Us?

What can GO tell us that GDP can’t? Here is a list:

  1. Gross output (GO) is the new government statistic that measures total spending in the economy at all stages of production. Unlike GDP, it includes the value of the supply chain, which is larger than GDP itself.
  2. GO is the missing piece in the macroeconomic puzzle. I like the way Steve Forbes puts it: “GDP is the x-ray of the economy; GO is the CAT scan.” I also suggest that GO is the “top line” in national income accounting; GDP is the bottom line. GO and GDP are complementary, but tell different stories.
  3. GO and GDP don’t always move in the same direction. During downturns, GO tends to fall much more and recover much more quickly. In 2022, real GDP declined for two quarters, suggesting a recession, while real GO kept rising (indicating no recession). However, real GO is growing at a slower pace and may turn negative in 2023.
  4. It shows that business spending is far bigger than consumer spending in the economy. Under the GDP model, consumer spending is the biggest sector and drives the economy. Under the GO model, business is the catalyst and driving factor of the economy. The GO model is more consistent with leading economic indicators and economic growth theory in the United States, as well as the supply side of the economy: saving, capital investment, entrepreneurship, innovation, etc.
  5. GO, especially the supply chain, is proving to be a good leading indicator of what GDP will do in the next quarter.  Private economist David Ranson, CEO of HCWE, Inc., uses it for effectively forecasting the next quarter’s GDP.

Investors on the GO

GO and the structure of economy is also useful to investors. The yield curve, a measure of the structure of interest rates, helps predict recessions and bear markets on Wall Street. It also shows why mining and energy stocks are more volatile than retail and utility stocks. I use this time-structural approach all the time in my investment newsletter. Several private investors use GO to forecast the markets and the economy, including David Ranson and Jerry Bowyer.

How to Learn More About GO

I’ve written extensively on the value of GO, including three articles in the Wall Street Journal as well as in Forbes magazine.

Several years ago, I was invited to give the Schumpeter Lecture on GO in Stockholm, Sweden. You can read it here:

Slowly but surely, GO is being integrated into the economics textbooks, such as McConnell Brue Flynn’s popular textbook, as well as my own “Economic Logic” (a sixth ed. is forthcoming).

I’ve given lectures at major universities on the topic, including Columbia Business School, the University of Virginia and Chapman University (where my presentation earned me a presidential fellowship and now the Doti-Spogli Endowed Chair).

Two months ago, Finn Kydland, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2004, invited me to give a presentation at his Macro Workshop at the University of California at Santa Barbar. (See his quote at the beginning of this article.) I also gave a lecture before a large economics class taught by Professor Lanny Ebenstein, which was well received. One student is doing a paper on GO.

GO Takes on the Skeptics: ‘The Economics of Life Made Simple’

It’s a triumph!

Skeptic magazine is published by Michael Shermer, a science author and libertarian who speaks every year at FreedomFest. It is a slick magazine with a broad audience (50,000-plus circulation). He invited me to give an overview of the U.S. and global economy, and the basics of Adam Smith’s economics. My article made the cover of the current (March) issue. It contains several important charts, including the economic freedom index.

Here are the questions I seek to answer:

  1. What is the secret to the success of the capitalist nations, which have grown by leaps and bounds in the past 200 years?
  2. What drives the economy — consumer spending, business investment or government stimulus?
  3. Why are young people so attracted to democratic socialism, and is there a better alternative?
  4. Should valuable goods and services like college education, medical services and transportation be made available to the public for “free”?
  5. What is money, what is it based on without a gold standard and can cryptocurrencies ever replace it?
  6. Are booms and busts and periods of inflation and recession (like we’re experiencing today) inevitable?
  7. Do economists offer any solution to the global warming threat?

The article has a glossary, and it shows how I integrate gross output (GO) into economic analysis.

I even mention the possibility of a “monetary crisis” in 2023 — the one we are facing right now with the banking crisis.

To read my “Economics of Life Made Simple,” go to It’s published four times a year. The price is $30, and it is available in print or online. You can also pick up a copy at any local Barnes & Noble bookstore.

LAST CALL: ‘Super Early Bird’ Discount on FreedomFest Ends Tomorrow, March 31!

You can save $150 over the retail price — but the discount ends on Friday, March 31 — tomorrow!

New Speakers at FreedomFest

I’m happy to announce that Enes Kanter Freedom, former NBA great for the Boston Celtics, will speak at FreedomFest, scheduled for July 12-15, in Memphis, Tennessee. He’s a major critic of the NBA’s and Lebron James’ failures to criticize China for human rights violations. His talk should not be missed!

Image courtesy of Erik Drost.

Other exciting new speakers include Michael Oher, whose story was the focus of the movie “The Blind Side”, Winston Marshall, formerly of Mumford & Sons, Nadine Strossen of the ACLU and Doug Stanhope, our headlining libertarian comedian. We will have over 200 speakers this July… plus more than 180 exhibitors and freedom organizations. See the current list at

Special Note: We also have a high-profile CELEBRITY speaker but cannot reveal his name until May. You will definitely want to be at FreedomFest this year to hear him! Sign up now before the early bird discount ends.

Global Financial Summit Addresses the New Monetary Crisis

We have a great lineup of experts who will help you navigate the latest monetary crisis, including Jeremy Siegel, Burt Malkiel, Louis Navellier, Alexander Green, Addison Wiggins, Steve Forbes, George Gilder, Steve Moore, Art Laffer, John Fund and David Bahnsen. Plus, our own editors Jim Woods, Bryan Perry, Roger Michalski and Paul Dykewicz will also be there.

Special Discount Ends Tomorrow!

We’re expecting over 2,000 attendees at our big show this July. Our early bird discount ends tomorrow. We’ve arranged another $50 off the early-bird rate for my subscribers. All in all, you save $150 off the retail price. Use the code EAGLE50 and register at, or call Hayley at 1-855-850-3733, ext. 201.

See you in Memphis in July!

Good investing, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen

You Blew It!

Our Cultural Decline After the Pandemic Hit

Many of us believe that our culture is in decline in terms of crime, honesty, community involvement, language, religion and having children.

Recently, a survey by the Wall Street Journal and a nonpartisan research organization at the University of Chicago has confirmed it.

In the data, we can see how imported trends have turned sharply negative in the past couple of years.

Since the pandemic of 2020, the percentage of Americans who rated the importance of these values as follows:  patriotism is down down from 60% to 39%; religion is down from 45% to 39%; having children is down from 42% to 30% and community involvement is down from 60% to 23%. The only exception was making money, whose value went up from 40% to 45%. For the full report, go here.

All of this has occurred after the COVID-19 virus hit America. It is not a good sign!

The post GO Ahead: Make My Day! appeared first on Stock Investor.

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The next pandemic? It’s already here for Earth’s wildlife

Bird flu is decimating species already threatened by climate change and habitat loss.

I am a conservation biologist who studies emerging infectious diseases. When people ask me what I think the next pandemic will be I often say that we are in the midst of one – it’s just afflicting a great many species more than ours.

I am referring to the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza H5N1 (HPAI H5N1), otherwise known as bird flu, which has killed millions of birds and unknown numbers of mammals, particularly during the past three years.

This is the strain that emerged in domestic geese in China in 1997 and quickly jumped to humans in south-east Asia with a mortality rate of around 40-50%. My research group encountered the virus when it killed a mammal, an endangered Owston’s palm civet, in a captive breeding programme in Cuc Phuong National Park Vietnam in 2005.

How these animals caught bird flu was never confirmed. Their diet is mainly earthworms, so they had not been infected by eating diseased poultry like many captive tigers in the region.

This discovery prompted us to collate all confirmed reports of fatal infection with bird flu to assess just how broad a threat to wildlife this virus might pose.

This is how a newly discovered virus in Chinese poultry came to threaten so much of the world’s biodiversity.

H5N1 originated on a Chinese poultry farm in 1997. ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock

The first signs

Until December 2005, most confirmed infections had been found in a few zoos and rescue centres in Thailand and Cambodia. Our analysis in 2006 showed that nearly half (48%) of all the different groups of birds (known to taxonomists as “orders”) contained a species in which a fatal infection of bird flu had been reported. These 13 orders comprised 84% of all bird species.

We reasoned 20 years ago that the strains of H5N1 circulating were probably highly pathogenic to all bird orders. We also showed that the list of confirmed infected species included those that were globally threatened and that important habitats, such as Vietnam’s Mekong delta, lay close to reported poultry outbreaks.

Mammals known to be susceptible to bird flu during the early 2000s included primates, rodents, pigs and rabbits. Large carnivores such as Bengal tigers and clouded leopards were reported to have been killed, as well as domestic cats.

Our 2006 paper showed the ease with which this virus crossed species barriers and suggested it might one day produce a pandemic-scale threat to global biodiversity.

Unfortunately, our warnings were correct.

A roving sickness

Two decades on, bird flu is killing species from the high Arctic to mainland Antarctica.

In the past couple of years, bird flu has spread rapidly across Europe and infiltrated North and South America, killing millions of poultry and a variety of bird and mammal species. A recent paper found that 26 countries have reported at least 48 mammal species that have died from the virus since 2020, when the latest increase in reported infections started.

Not even the ocean is safe. Since 2020, 13 species of aquatic mammal have succumbed, including American sea lions, porpoises and dolphins, often dying in their thousands in South America. A wide range of scavenging and predatory mammals that live on land are now also confirmed to be susceptible, including mountain lions, lynx, brown, black and polar bears.

The UK alone has lost over 75% of its great skuas and seen a 25% decline in northern gannets. Recent declines in sandwich terns (35%) and common terns (42%) were also largely driven by the virus.

Scientists haven’t managed to completely sequence the virus in all affected species. Research and continuous surveillance could tell us how adaptable it ultimately becomes, and whether it can jump to even more species. We know it can already infect humans – one or more genetic mutations may make it more infectious.

At the crossroads

Between January 1 2003 and December 21 2023, 882 cases of human infection with the H5N1 virus were reported from 23 countries, of which 461 (52%) were fatal.

Of these fatal cases, more than half were in Vietnam, China, Cambodia and Laos. Poultry-to-human infections were first recorded in Cambodia in December 2003. Intermittent cases were reported until 2014, followed by a gap until 2023, yielding 41 deaths from 64 cases. The subtype of H5N1 virus responsible has been detected in poultry in Cambodia since 2014. In the early 2000s, the H5N1 virus circulating had a high human mortality rate, so it is worrying that we are now starting to see people dying after contact with poultry again.

It’s not just H5 subtypes of bird flu that concern humans. The H10N1 virus was originally isolated from wild birds in South Korea, but has also been reported in samples from China and Mongolia.

Recent research found that these particular virus subtypes may be able to jump to humans after they were found to be pathogenic in laboratory mice and ferrets. The first person who was confirmed to be infected with H10N5 died in China on January 27 2024, but this patient was also suffering from seasonal flu (H3N2). They had been exposed to live poultry which also tested positive for H10N5.

Species already threatened with extinction are among those which have died due to bird flu in the past three years. The first deaths from the virus in mainland Antarctica have just been confirmed in skuas, highlighting a looming threat to penguin colonies whose eggs and chicks skuas prey on. Humboldt penguins have already been killed by the virus in Chile.

A colony of king penguins.
Remote penguin colonies are already threatened by climate change. AndreAnita/Shutterstock

How can we stem this tsunami of H5N1 and other avian influenzas? Completely overhaul poultry production on a global scale. Make farms self-sufficient in rearing eggs and chicks instead of exporting them internationally. The trend towards megafarms containing over a million birds must be stopped in its tracks.

To prevent the worst outcomes for this virus, we must revisit its primary source: the incubator of intensive poultry farms.

Diana Bell does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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This is the biggest money mistake you’re making during travel

A retail expert talks of some common money mistakes travelers make on their trips.



Travel is expensive. Despite the explosion of travel demand in the two years since the world opened up from the pandemic, survey after survey shows that financial reasons are the biggest factor keeping some from taking their desired trips.

Airfare, accommodation as well as food and entertainment during the trip have all outpaced inflation over the last four years.

Related: This is why we're still spending an insane amount of money on travel

But while there are multiple tricks and “travel hacks” for finding cheaper plane tickets and accommodation, the biggest financial mistake that leads to blown travel budgets is much smaller and more insidious.

A traveler watches a plane takeoff at an airport gate.

Jeshoots on Unsplash

This is what you should (and shouldn’t) spend your money on while abroad

“When it comes to traveling, it's hard to resist buying items so you can have a piece of that memory at home,” Kristen Gall, a retail expert who heads the financial planning section at points-back platform Rakuten, told Travel + Leisure in an interview. “However, it's important to remember that you don't need every souvenir that catches your eye.”

More Travel:

According to Gall, souvenirs not only have a tendency to add up in price but also weight which can in turn require one to pay for extra weight or even another suitcase at the airport — over the last two months, airlines like Delta  (DAL) , American Airlines  (AAL)  and JetBlue Airways  (JBLU)  have all followed each other in increasing baggage prices to in some cases as much as $60 for a first bag and $100 for a second one.

While such extras may not seem like a lot compared to the thousands one might have spent on the hotel and ticket, they all have what is sometimes known as a “coffee” or “takeout effect” in which small expenses can lead one to overspend by a large amount.

‘Save up for one special thing rather than a bunch of trinkets…’

“When traveling abroad, I recommend only purchasing items that you can't get back at home, or that are small enough to not impact your luggage weight,” Gall said. “If you’re set on bringing home a souvenir, save up for one special thing, rather than wasting your money on a bunch of trinkets you may not think twice about once you return home.”

Along with the immediate costs, there is also the risk of purchasing things that go to waste when returning home from an international vacation. Alcohol is subject to airlines’ liquid rules while certain types of foods, particularly meat and other animal products, can be confiscated by customs. 

While one incident of losing an expensive bottle of liquor or cheese brought back from a country like France will often make travelers forever careful, those who travel internationally less frequently will often be unaware of specific rules and be forced to part with something they spent money on at the airport.

“It's important to keep in mind that you're going to have to travel back with everything you purchased,” Gall continued. “[…] Be careful when buying food or wine, as it may not make it through customs. Foods like chocolate are typically fine, but items like meat and produce are likely prohibited to come back into the country.

Related: Veteran fund manager picks favorite stocks for 2024

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As the pandemic turns four, here’s what we need to do for a healthier future

On the fourth anniversary of the pandemic, a public health researcher offers four principles for a healthier future.

John Gomez/Shutterstock

Anniversaries are usually festive occasions, marked by celebration and joy. But there’ll be no popping of corks for this one.

March 11 2024 marks four years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Although no longer officially a public health emergency of international concern, the pandemic is still with us, and the virus is still causing serious harm.

Here are three priorities – three Cs – for a healthier future.

Clear guidance

Over the past four years, one of the biggest challenges people faced when trying to follow COVID rules was understanding them.

From a behavioural science perspective, one of the major themes of the last four years has been whether guidance was clear enough or whether people were receiving too many different and confusing messages – something colleagues and I called “alert fatigue”.

With colleagues, I conducted an evidence review of communication during COVID and found that the lack of clarity, as well as a lack of trust in those setting rules, were key barriers to adherence to measures like social distancing.

In future, whether it’s another COVID wave, or another virus or public health emergency, clear communication by trustworthy messengers is going to be key.

Combat complacency

As Maria van Kerkove, COVID technical lead for WHO, puts it there is no acceptable level of death from COVID. COVID complacency is setting in as we have moved out of the emergency phase of the pandemic. But is still much work to be done.

First, we still need to understand this virus better. Four years is not a long time to understand the longer-term effects of COVID. For example, evidence on how the virus affects the brain and cognitive functioning is in its infancy.

The extent, severity and possible treatment of long COVID is another priority that must not be forgotten – not least because it is still causing a lot of long-term sickness and absence.

Culture change

During the pandemic’s first few years, there was a question over how many of our new habits, from elbow bumping (remember that?) to remote working, were here to stay.

Turns out old habits die hard – and in most cases that’s not a bad thing – after all handshaking and hugging can be good for our health.

But there is some pandemic behaviour we could have kept, under certain conditions. I’m pretty sure most people don’t wear masks when they have respiratory symptoms, even though some health authorities, such as the NHS, recommend it.

Masks could still be thought of like umbrellas: we keep one handy for when we need it, for example, when visiting vulnerable people, especially during times when there’s a spike in COVID.

If masks hadn’t been so politicised as a symbol of conformity and oppression so early in the pandemic, then we might arguably have seen people in more countries adopting the behaviour in parts of east Asia, where people continue to wear masks or face coverings when they are sick to avoid spreading it to others.

Although the pandemic led to the growth of remote or hybrid working, presenteeism – going to work when sick – is still a major issue.

Encouraging parents to send children to school when they are unwell is unlikely to help public health, or attendance for that matter. For instance, although one child might recover quickly from a given virus, other children who might catch it from them might be ill for days.

Similarly, a culture of presenteeism that pressures workers to come in when ill is likely to backfire later on, helping infectious disease spread in workplaces.

At the most fundamental level, we need to do more to create a culture of equality. Some groups, especially the most economically deprived, fared much worse than others during the pandemic. Health inequalities have widened as a result. With ongoing pandemic impacts, for example, long COVID rates, also disproportionately affecting those from disadvantaged groups, health inequalities are likely to persist without significant action to address them.

Vaccine inequity is still a problem globally. At a national level, in some wealthier countries like the UK, those from more deprived backgrounds are going to be less able to afford private vaccines.

We may be out of the emergency phase of COVID, but the pandemic is not yet over. As we reflect on the past four years, working to provide clearer public health communication, avoiding COVID complacency and reducing health inequalities are all things that can help prepare for any future waves or, indeed, pandemics.

Simon Nicholas Williams has received funding from Senedd Cymru, Public Health Wales and the Wales Covid Evidence Centre for research on COVID-19, and has consulted for the World Health Organization. However, this article reflects the views of the author only, in his academic capacity at Swansea University, and no funding or organizational bodies were involved in the writing or content of this article.

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