Narrowing down the indicators

Here’s a good example of narrowcasting the future.  One Chinese leader apparently sees only three (3) economic indicators as worth tracking:

In a 2007 cable made public by Wikileaks, [Le Keqiang] … explained that he only looked at three statistics to gauge the health of the economy: (1) Bank lending, (2) Electricity consumption, and (3) Rail cargo volume. 

This is an example of an old futuring technique.  The predictor selects a handful of subtle stats (rail cargo!) and argues for their global importance.  It goes against the many factors approach, as well as against complex simulations.

What about GDP?

GDP figures are “man-made” and therefore unreliable, Li said…

By looking at these three figures, Li said he can measure with relative accuracy the speed of economic growth. All other figures, especially GDP statistics, are “for reference only,” he said smiling.”

Wikileaks cable source is apparently here, but that’s timing out for me this morning.