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Let’s say we figure out “what has driven real wage growth” using empirical methods. After estimating our coefficients with backfitting, we can forecast future wage growth using our calibrated model. Bam! It predicts extraordinarily well, given the crude quality of our data collection.
OK great. Now: Does anybody think we have discovered a true economic law in the same way that physicists think that there are actual laws governing the behavior of matter?
I hope not. No matter how much “experience has confirmed” an empirical regularity in the social sciences, people still have free will (at least operationally, if we’re doing a social science rather than looking at them as collections of atoms) and so those forecasting models could go out the window tomorrow.
In contrast, if I logically deduce that, “The purchasing power of money will be lower, other things equal, when the stock of money increases,” then that is a genuine law of economics. If you allow me to define the terms etc. in such a way that that proposition is true today, then it will necessarily be true for all time and all cultures.

Bob Murphy




It would also mean that there would have to be enormous transfers of money from one country to another. It would cost us a great deal of money. One reason why some of the poorer countries want it is that they would get those big transfers of money. We are trying to contest that. If we have a single currency or a locked currency, the differences come out substantially in unemployment or vast movements of people from one country to another. Many people who talk about a single currency have never considered its full implications.

When the Delors proposals for economic and monetary union came out, it was said immediately by my right hon. Friend [ Nigel Lawson ] the then Chancellor of the Exchequer that this was not really about monetary policy at all but about a back door to a federal Europe, taking many democratic powers away from democratically elected bodies and giving them to non-elected bodies. I believe fervently that that is true, which is why I shall have nothing to do with their definition of economic and monetary union.

I think that it is wrong to think that all the Twelve have similar votes or influence in these matters. I think that some in Germany are backing the scheme because they know that the dominant voice, the predominant voice, on any central bank would be the German voice. If we did not retain our national identities in Europe, the dominant people in Europe would be German. The way to balance out the different views of Europe, as we have traditionally done throughout history, is by retaining our national identity.

Margaret Thatcher, European Council, 30 ottobre 1990 (via Daniele Della Seta)

Chiudo gli occhi e vedo uno stormo di uccelli. La visione dura un secondo o forse meno; non so quanti uccelli ho visti. Era definito o indefinito il loro numero? Il problema implica quello dell’esistenza di Dio. Se Dio esiste, il numero è definito, perché Dio sa quanti furono gli uccelli. Se Dio non esiste, il numero è indefinito, perché nessuno poté contarli. In tal caso, ho visto meno di dieci uccelli (per esempio) e più di uno, ma non ne ho visti nove né otto né sette né sei né cinque né quattro né tre né due. Ho visto un numero di uccelli che sta tra il dieci e l’uno, e che non è nove né otto né sette né sei né cinque, eccetera. Codesto numero intero è inconcepibile; ergo, Dio esiste.

Jorge Luis Borges, L’Artefice
(in Tutte le opere, volume 1, I Meridiani Mondadori, pagina 1119)

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