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Tuesday, May 30, 2006



Forecasting in business or similar endeavors is hard enough. What market share will a certain company have in 2008? How many of a certain product will be sold in 2010? How could you possibly know? It depends on a thousand factors, involving everything that company does between now and then, everything each one of their competitors does, what the economy itself does, and so on. Yet analysts do quite a lucrative business making exactly such forecasts, always making out that they know the future with remarkable certainty even when their past predictions have proven inaccurate.

How much more ludicrous, then, is a forecast like this:

The Pentagon report said the strength of insurgents aiming to drive U.S.-led foreign forces out of Iraq "will likely remain steady throughout 2006 but that their appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."
Isn't it funny how the waning of the insurgency, or the decrease in American troop strength, is always six months away, no matter when you ask the question?

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