It seems China is using a new benchmark for economic progress.
Sales of boxers and briefs are surging in Liaoning Province, according to The Global Times, a fervently nationalist tabloid controlled by the Communist Party, bringing a bit of good news to a down-and-out part of China’s rust belt that epitomizes many of the country’s economic problems. Cheered by the prospect of a brighter future, the article argued, Liaoning men are upgrading a part of their wardrobe that most of their friends and family will never see.
In highlighting such an unorthodox economic indicator, The Global Times is harking back to a long tradition of eclectic economic indicators, one that the general public and even some economists like to turn to when the usual yardsticks of the dismal science just won’t do.
But in the case of the Liaoning Underwear Index, economists are — to put it lightly — skeptical.
There's more at the link.
Well, economists talk about price elasticity of demand, which would certainly apply to underwear - or, at least, to its waistbands. On the other hand, this may simply be a modern version of the Boxer Rebellion!