Quote of the day from James M. Buchanan:
"As a 'social' scientist, the primary function of the economist is to explain the workings of these institutions and to predict the effects of changes in their structures. As the interaction process that he examines becomes more complex, it is but natural that the task of the economic scientists becomes more intricate. But his central principle remains the same, and he can, through its use, unravel the most tangled sets of structural relationships among human beings.
The economist is able to do this because he possesses this central principle – an underlying theory of human behavior. And because he does so, he qualifies as a scientist and his discipline as a science. What a science does, or should do, is simply to allow the average man, through professional specialization, to command the heights of genius. The basic tools are the simple principles, and these are chained forever to the properly disciplined professional. Without them, he is as a jibbering idiot, who makes only noise under an illusion of speech."
-- James Buchanan, "Economics and Its Scientific Neighbors"