“Predicted fall…”, “Anticipated growth…”
The smoke and mirrors of economic prediction
Jacky Fitt FRSA
“We have to acknowledge that some things aren’t predictable. We need to acknowledge the uncertainty of living systems… People need to stop trying to project their values onto the universe.”
David Orrell, Mathematician
Uncertainty, breeds a rabid desire for the predictable: the known outcome, the endgame. And, today, the seemingly evangelical clamour of opposing ideologies to predict our future is deafening, drowning out the voices of reason and calm. And, economic prediction, although slavishly demanded, followed and repeated is possibly the most flawed of all.
“Economics is driven by ideology – it is ideology, not science, which drives them to assert that bank bailouts are tolerable but policies that protect the poor aren’t. Unsurprisingly, these flawed theories and models are a great comfort to financial elites – which is why so many economists are hired and funded by big banks, corporations and the wealthy.”
Ann Pettifor, Independent
“The bedrock lesson here is as old as time: The future — not all of it, but much of it — is too complex to be predicted… It has been said that the past is a foreign country. So is the future.”
Robert J Samuelson, Washington Post
How can we halt the ‘sleight of hand’ of those with the loudest voices, the hidden agenda? We need to be brave enough to acknowledge that we don’t (and can’t) know what’s in our stars. We need to focus our considerable human intellect, ingenuity and adaptability on sustainable and positive change now to create stability. We need to be honest with ourselves, be truthful with others and get better at being good.
In our episode ‘Chaos Theory, Systems Thinking and Flow’ we explore why we cannot, despite our vast accumulated knowledge, predict the future, be that of financial markets, voting trends or long-term weather. Yet, through using ethical decision making our future may be, at the very least, fairer, kinder and easier to live in for everyone.
“Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.” Henry Adams
“When the philosopher points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger.”