National Income Accounting
In this chapter we will introduce the fundamental functioning of a
simple economy. In section 2.1 we describe some primary ideas
we shall work with. In section 2.2 we describe how we can view
the aggregate income of the entire economy going through the
sectors of the economy in a circular way. The same section also
deals with the three ways to calculate the national income; namely
product method, expenditure method and income method. The
last section 2.3 describes the various sub-categories of national
income. It also defines different price indices like GDP deflator,
Consumer Price Index, Wholesale Price Indices and discusses the
problems associated with taking GDP of a country as an indicator
of the aggregate welfare of the people of the country.
2.1 SOME BASIC CONCEPTS OF MACROECONOMICS
One of the pioneers of the subject we call economics today, Adam
Smith, named his most influential work – An Enquiry into the
Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations. What generates the
economic wealth of a nation? What makes countries rich or poor?
These are some of the central questions of economics. It is not
that countries which are endowed with a bounty of natural wealth
– minerals or forests or the most fertile lands – are naturally the
richest countries. In fact the resource rich Africa and Latin
America have some of the poorest countries in the world, whereas
many prosperous countries have scarcely any natural wealth.
There was a time when possession of natural resources was the
most important consideration but even then the resource had to
be transformed through a production process.
The economic wealth, or well-being, of a country thus does
not necessarily depend on the mere possession of resources; the
point is how these resources are used in generating a flow of
production and how, as a consequence, income and wealth are
generated from that process.
Let us now dwell upon this flow of production. How does this
flow of production arise? People combine their energies with