"In the late 20th century, economics established itself firmly as the queen of the policy-making sciences. Up until then, before the emergence of digital computing power and the spread of numbers-based social science, people who were trained as lawyers, not as economists, had dominated policy making. The shift is documented in recent research by the sociologist Elizabeth Popp Berman. The difference in outlook between economists and lawyers is immense. Whereas economists seek out rules that are in theory universal—mathematical principles that apply everywhere, and are blind to context—legal thinking is fundamentally about the institutions of specific societies and about how institutions actually work in specific situations. This is not to say that we can always count on lawyers to see real people or that lawyers went away. The point is that a different way of thinking—emerging first in economics—has ascended across a wide range of professions."


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