My prediction for 2006: most prognostications will be (a) obvious or (b) wrong

I was just asked by an Australian e-zine to given them my predictions on an issue for 2006.

OK pundits, here is your opportunity … What are your predictions?

What will be the trends for example, in housing, work, education, families, eating habits and so on? Who will be the major global power? Where will there be wars? What will be the price of oil? In fact what are your predictions on anything at all …

I demurred, citing as evidence Philip Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgment: How Good is It? How Can We Know?, which show that "experts" often do worse than coin tosses in predicting future events (more from Tyler Cohen). Still, if they do a five-year follow-up, we might at least learn something from this exercise.

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6 Responses to My prediction for 2006: most prognostications will be (a) obvious or (b) wrong

  1. Sylvia Else says:

    Nothing much will change.

    More specifically:

    a) People will continue to have opinions based solely on what they’ve read in the news papers.

    b) Some news paper reporters will continue to write based solely on what they’ve either read in other newspapers, or what they’ve heard from people described in (a).

    c) Claims will continue to be made that this or that problem could be solved if certain solutions were adopted. These claims will be backed only by qualitative data, not quantitative.

    d) Lack of understanding about the mathematical inverse relationship between high effective marginal tax rates and middle class welfare will result in continued demands that the former be fixed without increasing the latter.

    e) Understanding of opportunity cost will continue to elude almost everyone, and in particular, the Green party.

    f) People will continue to kill each other for religious reasons.

    Sylvia

  2. spog says:

    I like your (d), Sylvia.

    Perhaps one prediction is that the Gov’t will announce/give serious consideration to an Earned Income Tax Credit, which, it will be alleged, somehow does fix both.

    Best wishes for 2006 to all.

  3. Sylvia Else says:

    Spog,

    I think even that scheme has add ons to help support children, and such like. If those add ons are means tested, then we’re back to square one. If not, then you’ll get the usual winges when the likes of James Packer receive them.

    Sylvia.

  4. spog says:

    I had my tongue firmly in cheek with that comment, Sylvia. EITCs move EMTRs around, shifting them from low to middle incomes in most designs I’ve seen.

    Regards

    Spog

  5. Sylvia Else says:

    Spog.

    Sorry, I should read more carefully…I read “which, it will be alleged,” as “which it is alleged” thus putting a rather different tenor on your missive. :(

    Sylvia.

  6. Sylvia Else says:

    Looks like I was right.

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