NATURE DOESN’T RUN ENOUGH ELECTIONS. Arnold Kling’s meta-interpretation appeals to me because he uses an analogy to a problem that I have posted on before—that in economics—“Nature doesn’t run very good experiments.” (See this post from 2007, for example). There are almost always a number of possible explanations for an event, and it is difficult to disentangle which are the important ones.
Kling gives the example of the financial crisis: “After the financial crisis, it was remarkable how many economists found their world view confirmed by it.” Now, he predicts, everybody is going to use the 2016 election to prove their favorite theory.
Kling writes: “If we are looking at singular events, like the financial crisis, we have no chance of definitively sorting them out. When we look at macroeconomics in general, too many factors change to enable us to draw firm conclusions.” Similarly, we have only one election, far short of the right kind of elections to test which of the possible explanations of the 2016 election are correct.