Any given phenomenon is always found set between two other phenomena. One of these is its efficient cause, and the other its final cause;

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

The Economic Harmonies end with an unfinished chapter, the title of which reflects the complexity of economic phenomena. They can be analysed individually but are part of a whole of such complexity that one can attempt to understand them without ever being able to reach the degree of an exact science that an enlightened despot would be able to reign into.

Today’s quote shows us the degree of complexity in which the economic science is lying – each phenomenon being itself both cause and effect, it is impossible to know them all and even less to be able to predict all the cascading effects that will be generated through a choice applied to one of them. This is also the reason why it cannot be an experimental science because the economic situation at a t instant is absolutely impossible to reproduce at a t+n instant situation due to the effects that modify permanently an infinite number of other effects.

Thus, economic science will always be an imperfect science and will have to content with theories that help to understand the essence of it, without however being able to grasp a global certainty (which is bad news for macro-economists who think they can regulate the economy the same way as one would regulate the temperature of a room with a knob – all they can do is to legislate with all the drawbacks that it implies on the loss of freedom and innovation, hence on progress).

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