Flat Earth Economics
Similarly deceptive appearances exist in Economics. When for example (almost) all companies report that sales are declining, it seemingly appears as if Keynesians are right when they say that the crisis is caused by "insufficient aggregate demand". If it were true as Austrians and some other non-Keynesians say, that the crisis was caused sector specific overinvestment, then surely we should see some sectors boom while others contracted. But as all sectors suffer, the Keynesian aggregate demand explanation appears more plausible.
What the Keynesian theory overlook is of course while "aggregate demand" in a statistical sense may indeed fall, the explanation that this is the root cause of problems assume that the reason why people demand less goods is that they simply don't want more of it, which is not true, if anything people are less content with their level of spending during slumps. The cause is instead that they can't afford these things any more because a large part of the nation's productive capacity has turned out to be malinvestments, and so cannot generate income for the people who worked and/or invested in that sector. Or in other words, as the malinvestments means that these workers/investors can't supply any goods, they can't demand goods from other sectors. The supply shock that the revelation of malinvestments implies will thus later result in what later appears to be a decline in aggregate demand, but the root cause remain the sector specific malinvestments.
Similarly, how could increases in the money supply possibly be responsible for higher prices, when it is often the case that immediately following a money supply increase, no significant price increases can be seen. And how could money supply increases be responsible for price increases when the time lag between the two usually vary? And how could it be responsible for price increases when some prices increase dramatically while others fall? Surely, if money supply was responsible for price increases, then all money prices should rise equally? As prices behave differently, surely there must be more specific explanations for each price movements (greedy price gouging capitalists, droughts, terrorist attacks or whatever).
This fallacy is complicated that it is often true that non-monetary factors move specific goods up or down and that for various reasons the exact time lag between money supply changes and price changes vary. But the money supply increase means that prices that rise for non-monetary reasons as well will move up more than otherwise, and that other prices will rise even though they would have been flat or even falling without the increase in money supply.
But while the theories that aggregate demand is responsible for the business cycle and that price movements are unrelated to money supply movements are of course as false as the Flat Earth theory or the Geocentric theory. But they are also as seemingly plausible at first glance, which is why it is easy for people to get deceived by these theories.
But while natural scientists today of course reject the Flat Earth theory and the Geocentric theory, most economists instead argue for the false theories created by false appearances. Frederic Bastiat once wrote that what separates good economists from bad is that the former when evaluating certain actions looks beyond the immediate effects for some and also looks at the effects for others and the long term effects for all. What also separates good economists from bad is that the former when explaining certain things look beyond the appearance created by the visible symptoms, and looks at the more complex root causes.