I was a big science fiction fan in my youth, and one of its gods in those days was Isaac Asimov, author of I Robot, the Foundation series, and roughly a million other books. The hero of Foundation , if I can remember half a century later, was Hari Seldon, pschohistorian. Psychohistory, Seldon's new science, used mathematics to predict the evolution of an interstellar civilization over a millenium. It was supposed to be a statistical science, sort of a statistical mechanics for social science. I always considered it a crock - something of a blot on Asimov's reputation.
This was before Lorentz and Mandlebrot, but I had read a little Poincare, and either influenced by that, or by a natural aversion to implausible extrapolation, I was pretty sure that the evolution of societies would exhibit sensitive dependence on initial conditions, especially those initial conditions that weren't yet known - like laws of physics yet to be discovered.
Others, it seems, hold a different view. Paul Krugman, the Nobelist and Clark Medal winner, says that he was inspired to go into economics by his early reading about psychohistory, since economics seemed the closest thing actually in the curriculum. Hal Varian, chief economist of Google, has told a similar tale.
It seems that Asimov's psychohistory at least predicted that I would not be an economist. It might be time for a reread.