Paul Samuelson - Science Quotes
5 Sourced Quotes
Well, I will say this. And this is the main thing to remember. Macroeconomics — even with all of our computers and with all of our information — is not an exact science and is incapable of being an exact science. It can be better or it can be worse, but there isn't guaranteed predictability in these matters.
My notion of a fruitful economic science would be that it can help us explain and understand the course of actual economic history. A scholar who seriously addresses commentary on contemporary monthly and yearly events is, in this view, practicing the study of history—history in its most contemporary time phasing.
There is really nothing more pathetic than to have an economist or a retired engineer try to force analogies between the concepts of physics and the concepts of economics. How many dreary papers have I had to referee in which the author is looking for something that corresponds to entropy or to one or another form of energy. Nonsensical laws, such as the law of conservation of purchasing power, represent spurious social science imitations of the important physical law of the conservation of energy; and when an economist makes reference to a Heisenberg Principle of indeterminacy in the social world, at best this must be regarded as a figure of speech or a play on words, rather than a valid application of the relations of quantum mechanics.
It is some relief to move from the exalted realm of philosophical ethics to the mundane realm of scientific methodology. However, I rather shy away from discussions of Methodology with a capital M. To paraphrase Shaw: Those who can do science; those who can't prattle about its methodology.