In the first article of this trilogy we explored some of the ambiguities and difficulties that surround the very idea of “economic advice” based on economic science. In the second article we set forth some of the basic foundations of economic science (with special reference to what the science can teach us about what we called the “benign” character of the spontaneous market process).
How can positive science (consisting entirely of “is” statements) be translated into “ought” statements within the framework of economic understanding? In the first part of this series we drew attention to some of the paradoxes surrounding economic advice.
As is the case with virtually all branches of human knowledge, economic knowledge and understanding are valued not only (or even primarily) for their own sake, but for their usefulness in practical terms. The enormous sums expended each year on economic research and economic education certainly would not be forthcoming if it were not expected that such research and education could help promote wise policies leading to prosperity and economic well-being.