Bert had good intentions! He thought he was being diligent and practical, plus he dedicated a significant amount of his time to these tasks that he valued. To be honest, he pretty much knew what the outcome ‘should’ be but thought it was proper to follow a method which he could then use to substantiate his declarations. Such is the plight of the empirical economists. The use of empirical methods in economics is like catching the wind with a hammer!
First of all, since humans are subjective and they value any and all things – material and ideal – subjectively, there is no way to represent the subjective choices and decisions by the use of a point of data. Even an exchange made in the market – the buyer exchanges money for a product – cannot be a piece of data. If the two things exchanged were perfectly equal what would be the point? One person values what they get more than what they give up or else there would be no exchange. A data point has no information about the double inequality of value that occurs at the time of an exchange.
And secondly the real world is dynamic and not static. In other words, even if the fallacy of economic information contained in data points is ignored, the empirical methodology can at best be irrelevant. First the data is collected, then it has to be interpreted. By who? With what objective? All of the sudden someone is introduced into the process for the purpose of interpreting the data. This person is a so-called ‘expert’ but more accurately, this person is an ego-driven interpreter of the data with an objective in mind.
In other words, the data cannot even get to the next stage without the interjection of an ego-driven interpreter.
But if we ignore the bias and corruption of this practice there is still another absurdity associated with empirical economics. What about lag time? The so-called data was collected at a different time and place which no longer exists in the real world. Whatever the conclusion is derived from fallacy upon fallacy is no longer relevant!
Yet this is what the State and its central-planners inflict on people as ‘remedies’ for the ills which were – in fact – created by the errors of earlier charlatans using empirical economics.
The alternative and scientifically-valid methodology is subjectivism as is used by Austrian economists and economists in the classical liberalism tradition.