Economies are deeply complex systems. The marketplace involves many economic actors behaving in rational and irrational ways, sustaining a dizzying array of interconnected activity. Because of the number of participants involved, the unpredictability of their actions, and the sheer variety of possible actions, some degree of economic uncertainty is inevitable.
English novelist and scientist C. P. Snow classed certain scientific ideas with the works of Shakespeare as something every educated person should know. One such idea, according to Snow, was the second law of thermodynamics, which deals with the diffusion of heat and has many profound consequences. He might well have added Newton's laws, the periodic table of elements, the double-helix structure of DNA, and scores of other masterpieces of scientific discovery.