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Predicting the Future is Easy

Every year countless people make predictions on a countless number of things. For example, every year there are people who predict a financial crisis of some kind. There are people who predict significant natural disasters. And there are people who predict a health crisis – such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

When one of these unusual events actually occurs, people can look back to who predicted it and laud them as insightful visionaries. So, is predicting the future easy? Sure, it is – as long as you have countless people making countless predictions all the time. Someone is bound to be "right" eventually!

Once these "predictions" come true, the blame game can begin towards people who did not "heed the warnings" made by the visionaries. But what happens to the vast majority of people who made wrong predictions that year? They fade away and no one ever talks about them again.

Leaders must make decisions – usually based on incomplete and imperfect information. As time goes on, and outcomes become certain, it is very easy to blame the leaders. In the English language we call it "20/20 hindsight".

Right now, I am watching the COVID-19 pandemic unfold around the world, and watching professional critics criticize our leaders for how they "ignored" all the warnings and did not act "fast enough". I have a saying about these people: If you can't do anything else in life, then become a professional critic. These people are on news program and websites everyday pontificating about the "failure" of our leaders on COVID-19.

I am not saying that leaders should not be criticized for their actions and decisions. I am saying that the metric being applied to our leaders for COVID-19 is in no way fair or reasonable.

Should we as a nation, or as global citizens, have been better prepared for a pandemic like COVID-19? Maybe. But let's think about all the things we should be better prepared for, and potentially taking action on as a society or as individuals. Here are a few.

  • Retirement (and saving money in general)
  • Debt – both personal and national
  • Using good passwords on the internet
  • Identity theft
  • A major economic depression
  • Natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, etc.) as a society and as individuals
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Cyber attacks
  • A pandemic like COVID-19
  • Global warming
  • A giant meteor hitting in the earth

If we gave all our attention to preparing for every kind of potential outcome or disaster, as individuals or as a society, I am afraid we would not have time to do much else.

Am I advocating for ignoring all these things? Of course not. But it is just not realistic or pragmatic to think that every time some significant event happens that we should have been better prepared. To blindly criticize leaders for our lack of "preparedness" and for not "heeding the warnings" is a fool's errand. And right now, I am seeing plenty of fools on television and the internet every day.

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Friday, 09 June 2023
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