There are those who insist that we can plan something as complex and chaotic as an economy. If only all the bright people were stuck into offices they'd be able to make all do as they insist and the world would be a better place.
It doesn't seem to matter how often reality comes around to give them a smack in the mouth, the belief persists. One such slap coming from the Office for National Statistics:
Britain’s trade deficit is almost £10bn smaller than previously thought as financial trading is a bigger boost to the economy than experts had realised.
A new system for counting goods traded in and out of the UK also meant the deficit came in smaller, improving the economic outlook.
The 2016 deficit in trade in goods and services was one-quarter smaller than had been understood, at £30.9bn, not the £40.7bn estimated earlier. Around £5bn of the improvement comes from financial trading.
The economy was also £5.6bn larger than previously estimated, the Office for National Statistics said, due to financial trading profits.
It's entirely true that in a floating currency system trade deficits don't matter at all. But then those who would plan economies tend also to think they should be determining exchange rates - where deficits do matter in a fixed exchange rate system. And now we find that this specific number is 25% out?
As said, that feeds through into the size of GDP. Which in turn feeds through into productivity numbers - UK productivity is 0.3% higher as a result of this change. The financial system is significantly more important to the economy than we thought, perhaps as much as 7 or 8% larger in fact.
And people want to try to plan an economy when we've this little knowledge about what is happening, let alone what will happen when all those clever people act on such sketchy information?
Hayek was right, wasn't he? We've not actually the information to be able to do such planning. As he pointed out, and as has been confirmed is even true with all these computers around, we cannot have such knowledge either.
Sadly, this little slap will make as little difference to the dreamers as that haymaker of the 1989 revelations did. The insistence upon national planning is a religious, not rational, belief thus reality - however hard it punches - just ain't gonna make a difference.