While technically wrong, Papola hits on (or at least hints at) an ecstatic truth squirreled away in how GDP is actually reckoned.
You may have already read some of my comments on the shortcomings of GDP here. Recall that the kernel of my argument is that welfare economists use GDP as a metric for prosperity and that the negative sign on imports implies that goods purchased from foreigners make Americans worse off. This is patently and obviously false. What Papola's comment reveals is interesting for the virtue of being factually incorrect.
The error is not obvious to the casual observer, so let me remind you how GDP is approximated.
Y = C+I+G+(X-M)
Output (Y) is the sum of private consumption (C), investment (I), government expenditure (G) and net exports (X-M).
I've already griped about the last term, so let's now gripe about the key differences between the first and the third. To wit, it's only the purchase of final, new goods that count in C. Flea markets need not apply, neither do intermediate goods like bulk paper sold by a mill to a printing press. John's socks got counted as part of GDP when he bought them from Brooks Brothers, but no subsequent sales count towards our official prosperity measure.
Unless of course they're bought by Uncle Sam. All 'G' counts. Every joint strike fighter,
Curious that, eh? I think most folks would agree that secondary market sales are indeed welfare-enhancing, particularly if they help encode structural changes that reduce recycling costs. Yet the great productive strides made possible by Craigslist and the like are studiously ignored by national income accounting, while any and all government spending plugs right straight into the identity.
How about that.