Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 11:20 | SYDNEY
Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 11:20 | SYDNEY

January, the season for predictions


Sam Roggeveen


4 January 2012 10:32

Welcome back to The Interpreter for 2012, and welcome to January, a month in which you will inevitably be swamped by experts making political predictions.

Political predictions are a bit like sci-fi movies: they tell you more about the time in which they're made than the time in which they're set.

Make no mistake, these predictions are almost entirely useless as a guide to the future. But just as Star Trek told us a lot about the hopes of 1960s American liberalism (nations and races united in a peaceful world federation) and its blind-spots (only hot women showing lots of leg made it onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise), political predictions give you an idea of what the experts making these big calls are obsessing about, and what they're ignoring.

So do take predictions about the end of the euro and the coming collapse of China with a pinch of salt. But also treat them with humility (did you predict the Arab Spring? So why dismiss the idea that China might collapse?) and as an invitation to think anew about ideas and issues that you had previously put in the 'not gonna happen' basket.

'The Crystal Ball' by John William Waterhouse, courtesy of Wikipedia.