Publications: Notes at the Margin

A Lesson from History (March 5, 2018)


Economists and historians often offer lessons from the past in their efforts to help the public understand recent trends in data. These enlightenments are then followed by predictions—many of them wrong.


The former representative from Michigan, Democrat John Dingell, heard the "condemned to repeat it" quote so often as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that he often warned his staff "here comes another Santayana moment." He was right. The phrase is overused—way over used.


This week there will be many Santayana moments at the CERAWeek conference in Houston. Indeed, historical precedents exist for what is about to happen that date back eighty years. One outcome is also predictable: failure.


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