With a bang or a whimper?

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An old joke has an economist and a trader walking down the street. The trader says to the economist: “There’s a $20 bill lying on the sidewalk.” The economist replies: “No there’s not.” The trader responds: “But it’s right there!” “No,” the economist patiently explains, “if there was a $20 bill lying there someone would have picked it up already.” At this point, the trader leans down, picks up the $20 bill and they continue on their way.

The point of the story is that all too often economists

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