“However, he needs them for planning purposes.” That quote, given in this piece, is from a “war story” told by Kenneth Arrow, a well-known economist. Economic forecasts are often inaccurate. OECD economists released an assessment of their own forecasts last month, which was rather harsh. But give them credit: it’s rare to see economists publicly compare their forecasts to actual outcomes at horizons longer than a few quarters. That doesn’t reduce the demand for long-term forecasts and policy simulations. Planners just can’t help themselves, because a plan requires a rationale, and a rationale requires a forecast conditional on plan assumptions, which ultimately provides an excuse for an inaccurate forecast.
One qualification: I submit that not ALL economists are statists! I would say most of us recognize the pernicious effects of regulation and attempts at “planning” on economic growth.