- 24 Ottobre 2018
- by Blogger
Historical data cannot produce much information about the facts of reality without a theory that “stands on its own feet” and is not derived from the data. Gazing at the data cannot assist an analyst in establishing causes in the world of economics. All that gazing will do is to help describe things. To ascertain the underlying causes one requires an explanation that can be made by a logically worked out theory. The role of historical data in all this is just to illustrate things but not to serve as proof. One example that Mises liked to use in his class to demonstrate the difference between two fundamental ways of approaching human behavior was in looking at Grand Central Station behavior during rush hour. The “objective” or “truly scientific” behaviorist, he pointed out, would observe the empirical events: e.g., people rushing back and forth, aimlessly at certain predictable times of day. And that is all he would know. But the true student of human action would start from the fact that all human behavior is purposive, and he would see the purpose is to get from home to the train to work in the morning, the opposite at night, etc. It is obvious which one would discover and know more about human behavior, and therefore which one would be the genuine “scientist”. That man pursues purposeful actions implies that causes in the world of economics emanate from human beings and not from outside factors.