By John Jewkes
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Extra resources for A Return to Free Market Economics?: Critical Essays on Government Intervention
But the economist who devotes himself to a study of the forms of industry and the organic interrelation of units within industry is too frequently regarded by his loftier colleagues as engaged in a low-grade task. No geologist would be prepared to forecast the earthquakes of the future or feel particularly cast down because he could not do so. Yet the economist will often predict the shifts and slitherings of the economic scene or consider his failure to do so to be evidence of the painful immaturity of his science.
There are economists in Great Britain and even in the United States who have given the best years of their lives to a stubborn reiteration of the view that the American depression has at last arrived. Perhaps one of the most extraordinary of recent predictions was that a shortage of food would be permanent in the post-war world. If it can be considered a consolation, the predictions of the sociologists as to invention and the like have been just as inaccurate as those of the economists. Of course some predictions do come true.
No one can know where pure science will take us next but we can be sure that with the recent rapid growth of scientific knowledge the chances offruitful crossfertilisation between the different branches of science increase and, with that, 20 A Return to Free Market Econumics ·' the chances of new achievement in unexpected fields. No one knows what technological applications of pure science will be made, but all the recent work on the history of invention reveals how unpredictable are the darting flashes and intuitions of the seminal minds of each generation and how blind we can be to the bounties that are on the doorstep.
A Return to Free Market Economics?: Critical Essays on Government Intervention by John Jewkes