The “Thinking Like a Fox” metaphor is best applied against people that make extreme predictions with high degrees of uncertainty and little historical precendent. To wit: MIT researchers predict “Next Great Depression”in 2030 because of a lack of resources. Freakanomics has a great response:
The same folks who stunned the world in 1972 with a prediction that economic growth would soon cease because of resource constraints are back again, predicting resource constraints will lead to global depression in 2030. Growth did not end by 1990, and it will not end in 2030. As before, prices will change to make economizing on increasingly scarce resources good business policy; and, as before, technology will change to lead businesses and consumers to substitute away from relatively scarce resources.
The interesting question is why this same nonsense continues to get so much attention. Is it that people forget the absurdities of the past arguments? Or do we have a substantial, never-satisfied demand for schadenfreude? Regardless, this stuff is just as bad economics as it was when The Limits of Growth first appeared.
It’s not that we don’t face challenges in the decades ahead or that another Great Depression is impossible – it’s just that the logic behind the prediction (scarcity of resources) has been a popular argument since Malthus, and it hasn’t been right since then.