Publications

- September 1, 2016: Vol. 10, Number 08

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Fortune tellers: Economists, astrologers, forecasters and other fellow travellers

by Joe Valente

The UK Brexit referendum has taught me one thing — I never quite realised just how many experts are willing to offer an opinion and drop a forecast at a moment’s notice. The entire forecasting industry appears to have been re-energised by the referendum and managed to prove, once again, that anything can be forecast so long as you make enough assumptions about the world while keeping a straight face. Numerical sequences grab the headlines and, in so doing, take on a patina of incontrovertible fact.

The recent wave of forecasting activity reminded me that it’s now 40 years since the real estate market first began to attract the interest of forecasters, modellers and other assorted soothsayers. A group whose number has increased significantly over the period. Otherwise sensible people who try to do something incredibly brave and extraordinary — to foretell the future of markets with an air of certainty, the virtue of a decimal point and the complete absence of a safety

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