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  • I Don’t Like Making Predictions

    Posted by Jonathan on February 7th, 2003 (All posts by )

    Last May I made a bet with the lovely Diane that the U.S. would attack Iraq before the end of 2002. While it looks like I will soon be right about the invasion, I was wrong about the timing, and timing was the issue. I blew it due to my usual excessive overconfidence.

    Meanwhile Lex has been trying to talk me into publishing my predictions for 2003. He himself has already done so in a masterful post, and I predict that many of his predictions will prove accurate. He has a good track record, especially WRT politics. (He is typically less overconfident than I am, though our respective overconfidence levels may be converging as we age.) I have a lousy track record, especially on issues that affect me emotionally. And I find that by making a prediction on any topic I tend to increase my feeling of having a stake in a particular outcome, which makes my judgment even worse. The honest best that I can usually do, prediction wise, is along the lines of: “There is a greater than even chance that X will occur if Y occurs.” But nobody wants to read predictions that sound like that. So with these caveats in mind, I am willing to make a couple of straightforwardly vague prognostications:

    – There will be surprises in the war against radical Islam. Most of these surprises will be bad.

    – Unexpected stuff will happen around the world. As always.

    – The U.S. monetary system will show an increasing bias towards inflation during the next year or two.

    That’s about the best that I can do. If anyone wants to make some money, I am available to take the other side of bets.