… is from page 3 of Deirdre McCloskey’s excellent 1990 book, If You’re So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise:
Economic snake oil sells, in other words, because the public wants it. The public wants it because of the fears that magicians and medicine men have always assuaged and because the public does not know the limits on economic storytelling. The economists, even many who do not look to a career in selling snake oil, are disabled by their training from knowing the limits. They do not know they are telling stories and therefore cannot distinguish good stories from bad.
DBx: All theories are stories. And good theories are stories that improve – stories the telling of which deepen or widen (or both) – the storyteller’s and his or her audiences’ understanding of reality.