To Be Useful, Data Needs Theory

Frank Shostak

“For most so-called practical economists, information regarding the state of an economy is derived from data. Thus, if an economic statistic such as real gross domestic product or industrial production shows a visible increase, it is considered indicative of a strengthening of the economy. Conversely, a decline in the growth rate is regarded as weakening. It seems that by looking at the data one can ascertain economic conditions. Is this the case, though? The so-called data that analysts are looking at is a display of historical information.

But according to Ludwig von Mises in Human Action,”

https://mises.org/wire/be-useful-data-needs-theory