Economic activity is not a group experience: we live, produce and consume as individuals. Yet macro-analysts – economists, statisticians, politicians – insist on looking at us in terms of groups or averages. They reach conclusions and develop policies based on statistics that may have nothing to do with any individual: no family has 2.3 children; hardly anyone in the entire country earns the “average income”.
Too often those who are unaware of the nature of macro-economics are led to make decisions that adversely affect millions of people. This approach toward policy-making recalls the story of the man who stuck one foot in a bucket of scalding water and placed the other on a block of ice: on average, his feet were 98.6 degrees comfortable.
Roger M. Clites