… is from page 160 of the late Peter Bauer’s essay “Further Reflections on the State of Economics,” which is Chapter 10 in Bauer’s excellent 1984 book, Reality and Rhetoric: Studies in the Economics of Development (footnote deleted):
Statement of the obvious, which by now often amounts to rediscovery, has become a major task. But this may well be a more appropriate task than extensive preoccupation with refinements, at times indistinguishable from trivia, on the so-called frontiers of knowledge. Some of these developments give every appearance of being blind alleys. Indeed, they are apt to obstruct progress towards an improved understanding of reality. This preoccupation has in turn diverted attention both from the study of reality and from the exposure of transgressions.