Here’s a nugget that Kate unearthed while digging through an accumulation of papers. It’s a column-filling blurb from a 1976 issue of The New Yorker. Here’s the item in its entirety:
THE CLOUDED CRYSTAL BALL
[“Man and the World Community the Century Ahead,” by Arthur Larson, in “Man and the Future,” University Press of Kansas, 1968]
I suppose the area outside of the physical sciences where the authentic scientific approach has been most successfully applied is that of economics, particularly in the prevention of severe recessions and the reconciling of free enterprise with orderly growth. One reason is that economists now have an impressive array of reliable current facts on which to act, in the form of economic indicators, touching investment, savings and spending, income, sales, inventories, employment, prices, and dozens of other categories of facts and data. Careful study of past experience now enables economists to watch these dials, notice the need for some adjustment, turn a knob here, tighten a valve there, on discount rates, taxes, government purchase policies, social insurance, fiscal measures, and the trouble is righted.
Thanks to the the miracle of the World Wide Web, which has made the world an even more rational place than Larson found it, here’s the Google Books link to the volume (and here’s a copy for sale on eBay). And the knob-turning, valve tightening Arthur Larson? He was a well-known moderate Republican legal scholar who served in both the FDR and Eisenhower administrations. Here’s an obituary, from 1993.