19 SEPTEMBER 1925, Page 32


Although it is almost impossible nowadays to take up any important article dealing with financial and economic condi- tions without finding constant reference to index numbers and ,relative index prices in various countries, it may be doubted whether the ordinary man in the street has a very intelligent notion as to the precise significance-of these Index Numbers, and still more as to the method of compilation. And yet, at a time when these Index Numbers are brandished freely by City Editors and Professors of Political Economy to support certain theories, it would be well if the public understood a little more .of the manner in which these statistics are obtained. Such !knowledge would not in any way detract from an appreciation of the usefulness of Index Numbers, but it would perhaps tend to shake the faith in their absolute infallibility, and especially lit would show how they may be abused as well as used. I would strongly recommend, therefore, any readers of they ;Spectator who may be interested in this subject to endeavour to obtain the current Monthly Review of the Midland Bank, in which there is a most excellent article on' The Use and Abuse of Price :IndeX Numbers." The -article is brilliantly written and merits the widest possible publicity.

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