SEPTEMBER 01, 1981 by LUDWIG VON MISES
Statistics is a method for the presentation of historical facts. It is not economics and cannot produce economic theorems and theories.
There is no such thing as quantitative economics. All economic quantities we know about are data of economic history.
Reasonable businessmen are fully aware of the uncertainty of the future. They realize that economists do not dispense any reliable information about things to come and that all they provide is interpretation of statistical data referring to the past. For capitalists and entrepreneurs the economists’ opinions about the future count only as questionable conjectures.
The pretentious solemnity which statisticians and statistical bureaus display in computing indexes of put-chasing power and cost of living is out of place. A judicious housewife knows much more about the price changes as far as they affect her own household than the statistical averages can tell. She has little use for computations disregarding changes both in quality and in the amount of goods which she is permitted to buy at the prices entering into the computation. In practical life nobody lets himself be fooled by index numbers. Nobody agrees with the fiction that they are to be considered as measurements.