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No one, for example, has to explain to us what prices are – we face them every day. Experts may have to explain why banks offer interest on saving deposits or why risk aversion is a tricky concept or why the way we measure wealth misses much of the point of measuring it, but none of these is an alien idea. As economics matters to us, we also have views on what should be done to put things right when we feel they are wrong. And we hold our views strongly because our ethics drive our politics and our politics inform our economics.
When thinking economics we don’t entertain doubts. So, the very reasons we want to study economics act as stumbling blocks even as we try to uncover the pathways by which the economic world gets shaped. But as economics is in large measure about those pathways – it’s as evidence-based a social science as is possible – it shouldn’t be surprising that most often disagreements people have over economic issues are, ultimately, about their reading of ‘facts’, not about the ‘values’ they hold.