Monday, January 5, 2009

Careers in 40% Forecasting

Recently our weather forecasters were predicting a "40% chance of snow" in our area later in the week.  Nobody was surprised when it snowed.  It got me to thinking about economic predictions that I was hearing from 2006 to mid 2008. Google "30% chance of recession", "40% chance of recession" or "50% chance of recession" and you'll see what I mean.

I'm thinking about a new career as prediction pundit. It does not require any real expertise on any subject, just follow one simple rule: Always stick with 40% (+ or - 10%).

The neat thing about making probability predictions is that if you keep it in the 30-50% range, a substantial number of people will think you were accurate no matter what happens.  A 40% probability is high enough to give you credit if the predicted event happens, but if it doesn't, you can still point out that you correctly predicted that the odds were greater that it would not happen.

One remarkable way that one can make forecasts that are close to 100% accurate is to assume the opposite of any prediction made by neocon analyst and commentator, Bill Kristol.


Dean Wormer said...

Can we call that the "Bill Kristol Model?"

ThoughtCriminal said...

DW: Sounds like a good idea (Or BKM for short). Kristol and his pals are responsible for a great deal of pain, death, suffering and economic chaos, but rather than just hate them, we should harness their talent for being so completely wrong all the time. But, the trick to doing this successfully may be not letting them know we're doing it.