We focus too much on what is immediate, too little on the longer-term changes that shape our choices. So much time and intellectual energy is wasted analysing the latest data for little twists that might marginally change our future. Too little is spent looking back over the longer haul, to see where we have been heading, and why.
The December quarter national accounts released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last week were not too good, but not too bad. Essentially, the accounts show the economy is stuck in third gear. The output of the economy (gross domestic product, or GDP) grew by just 2.3 per cent in 2017 — or 0.7 per cent per head, which is really the more important number.