We're headed for a recession - or not

"It's important to note, before we go further, that economics is not a hard science, certainly not in any conventional understanding of that term. It's not even an art, though some practitioners see it as such. It's more in the nature of an occult practice, sort of like alchemy, the medieval effort to turn baser metals into gold.

The economist rummages through stacks of arcane statistics, submits them to certain preferred measures of past economic performance, stirs in a dash of raw gut instinct and - voila! - produces a prediction. How often are they right? A bit less often than weather forecasters is as good a guess as any. Or, if you believe their harshest critics, economists' predictions are typically wider of the mark than the initial cost estimate on car repairs you'll get from your local mechanic."

John Farmer
St. Paul Pioneer Press


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