Saturday 22 October 2016

I predict that anyone trying to forecast the future will fail

Published 11/07/2015 | 02:30

It is said that even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. In a world obsessed with forecasting, that is a consolation. However, if forecasting was a stand-alone industry, it would be bankrupt long ago. It's everywhere nowadays, in economics, politics, sports, science, along with the old reliable weather.

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It has always held a fascination, from Nostradamus, to soothsayers, while it is said that Hitler, Nancy Reagan and Britain's M15 used astrologists. Yet when it comes to the things that really matter, forecasts can be as uncertain as the 4 o'clock at the Curragh. Who remembers the famous predictions around the Millennium bug when computer systems around the world were going to crash at midnight? Or the famous soft landing coming up to the economic crash of 2008?

Yet no one saw 9/11 coming, or a black president in the White House less than two years before he was elected. The recent UK election results have forecasters still scratching their heads.

Yet despite the uncertainty of forecasts, people always listen up when a so-called expert predicts next year's growth rates, the formation of the next government, or who's going to win the All Ireland, and climate change has spawned a huge industry with sincerely held views on both sides of the divide.

The insurance industry manages to err on the side of caution to stay afloat, but it too has been hit hard by earthquakes or other unpredicted events, while the stock exchange is so exposed to faulty forecasting that it has become a roller coaster on bad days.

The only thing certain that can be said of forecasting is its uncertainty, which leaves it even less reliable than the stopped clock.

Joseph Kieley

Donegal Town, Co Donegal

Greek drama at its finest

A modern-day Greek drama in six acts, based on 'real-life events':

Act 1: We will pay back the €320bn we borrowed.

Act 2: We are having some difficulty in paying back the €320bn we borrowed.

Act 3: We are having real difficulty in paying back the €320bn we borrowed.

Act 4: We are unable to pay back the €320bn we borrowed.

Act 5: We say 'No' to paying back the €320bn we borrowed. We will never surrender to blackmail and terrorism by our creditors.

Act 6: We now say 'Yes' to paying back the €320bn we borrowed.

And could you also see your way to lending us another €50bn please? We promise to pay back this additional €50bn in the same way we promised we would repay the €320bn we borrowed. Honest.

Ivor Shorts

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

Whole world's in foreclosure

Any graphic of worldwide debt per capita shows Ireland to be consistently vying for top billing. Like so much of this twilight zone we are living through, perspective can be lost and fear, stress and despair can set in.

It is all only as real as we allow it to be. In the 1942 Central Bank Act, it was deemed that the credit created on the authority of the Central Bank would be the property of the joint stock banks - there being eight prominent national banks at the time. There is no law of nature that requires credit creation for societal needs to be issued as debt, but yet it always is. On what authority did Sean T O'Kelly, the Minister for Finance who introduced this Act, deem it acceptable to usurp the future credit of the Irish nation and its people like this?

This situation is mirrored throughout the world by all Central Banks. Of course, that in and of itself is not the main problem. The foreclosure of society that is evident worldwide kicks in when interest is charged on the said credit that is recycled to the people as debt. The interest is never created and so does not exist anywhere. 40pc of the price of every single commodity in our world now is interest and that is why usury is so abhorrent.

This model is now in terminal freefall. It literally charges more than exists and the reduced rate of population growth worldwide means new alleged debt cannot be created quickly enough by banks now to sate the existing alleged debt plus interest commitments.

In summation, the whole world is in foreclosure. The current model cannot be saved in favour of the people. It is a mathematically impossibility, hence it is rapidly time we see that all of this farce is only as real as we allow it to be. It is a fraud from the beginning and can be discarded as quickly as it was introduced. The choice for this is the people's, not the bankers' and the governments'. They have clearly made their choice, which is the complete enslavement of the people by these odious financial models.

Credit creation does not equal lawful debt and adding interest to the equation is like adding petrol to the fire. Greece is our mirror to see the error of these ways.

Barry Fitzgerald

Lisarda, Co Cork

My advice to single parents

Enda Kenny said the ex-ministers should refuse the increases in their pensions. Really? Mr Kenny, is that all you can say or do about this indescribable insult to the ordinary people of Ireland? May I make so bold as to suggest a little bit of advice to the thousands of single parents who from this week onward will find themselves with huge cuts in their single parent allowances - simply refuse to accept this barbaric cut to your income. Not much chance of them succeeding with that then, is there Mr Kenny?

Mike Burke

Sixmilebridge, Co Clare

Looking after the elderly

Proof of the real dynamics of a Government is how they treat their elderly - all have vested interests in parents! Obviously, however, our rulers are more obsessed with the taxes from 'Fifty Shades of Grey' than aware our 'realistic greying' population over 65 are the most neglected in Europe. It's scandalous that Ireland spends less than half the EU average on caring for some of its most vulnerable citizens (Irish Independent, July 7).

Latest EU statistics place Ireland second last when it comes to spending in areas related to 'old age' - almost 12pc less than the euro-zone standard. Only Iceland finished lower, with 5pc.

The State pension has not increased since 2009 and weekly income has eroded by almost €14 since then.

They fail to realise the inadequacies of our social system and make provision for the future.

One of the humanitarian actions this Government can take in the forthcoming budget, is to look after the elderly and more needy in our society.

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary

Irish Independent

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