Tag Archives: Prosperity alerts

Why economics a dismal science

You try and you try but still can’t be sure.

However greatly our theories and techniques of investigation [using economic models and testing them through statistical trials] assist us to interpret the observed facts, they give little help in ascertaining all those particulars which enter into the determination of the complex patterns, and which we would have to know to achieve complete explanation, or precise predictions.

Which is where the free market comes in, millions  of buyers and sellers and their “complex patterns,” which no  man or woman or gang of eight or ten or a thousand can explain completely or predict precisely.

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Social ethic has its place, but what does it do for business expansion?

Here’s the close to an editorial, “Can Portland capitalize on its popularity with millennials” in The Oregonian, a paper I read the other day while in that fair city.

It’s a cautious but convincing word for less government regulation and less tree-hugging if there is to be a business renaissance.

Where does all of this leave Portland? The city’s social ethic fits well with the millennial generation, which is one reason so many 20-somethings move here. The city is fertile ground for social entrepreneurs, who prioritize a cause over profits.

But Portland also needs to be welcoming to young entrepreneurs interested in starting traditional businesses. That means helping would-be business owners navigate the regulatory system and taking steps to keep office rents and other start-up costs, including taxes, from spiraling out of control.

Otherwise, the gaps between the aspirations of Portland’s millennials and their ability to achieve their goals will only grow.

In a letter to the editorial page, I noted their “Balancing idealism with gritty realities,” with accompanying example and conclusion, “Sometimes there are legitimate reasons that businesses don’t put a higher priority on societal problems.”

I added that “to float such heresy in your (or Chicago’s) climate is admirable.”

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