Two themes are generative for revealing and understanding the history of observation in economics. First, we argue for the importance of noting that observation is an activity as well as a result, and second that observation is no more identical with quantification than observing is with measuring. These two themes enable us to discuss different historical dimensions of the ways in which economists have observed their economies and so enlarge our understanding of their observational practices. These problematics especially help in delineating the intricate, multilayered, and active interactions between the observer and the observed that take place in all social science observation, and from which our pictures of the economic world emerge.

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