Monday, April 4, 2011

Media and Predictions

Future Babble:
Many economists didn’t recognize the crisis for what it was even as it was unfolding. In December 2007 – months after the credit crunch began and the very moment that would officially mark the beginning of the recession in the United States – BusinessWeek magazine ran its annual chart of detailed forecasts for the year ahead from leading American analysts. Under the headline A Slower But Steady Economy, every one of fifty-four economists predicted the U.S. economy wouldn’t “sink into a recession” in 2008. The experts were unanimous that unemployment wouldn’t be too bad, either, leading to the consensus conclusion that 2008 would be a solid but unspectacular year. One horrible year later – as people watching the evening news experienced the white-knuckle fear of passengers in a plunging jet – Business Week turned to the economists who had so spectacularly blown that year’s forecast and asked them to tell its readers what would happen in 2009. There was no mention of the previous year’s fiasco, only another chart filled with reassuringly precise numbers. The headline: A Slower But Steady Economy.

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