Quote of the day - economic predictions
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 96 00:53:09 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Quote of the day - economic predictions
[At a guess, this was published during Christmas, 1994; it came to me undated.
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Duncan Thornton)
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Quote of the day)
.... At Christmas 1984, _The Economist_ sought predictions on four
trends in the British and world economy over the next decade. Participating
in the poll were four multi-national company chairmen, four Oxford
students, four finance members drawn from the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development and four garbagemen (called "dustmen" in the
In the final tally, the dustmen tied with the company chairmen. The
Oxford students and the finance ministers were miles behind.
On the question of the value of the pound against the U.S. Dollar,
which was $1.20 in 1984, the dustmen came closest to the pound's current
value of $1.60. The experts had predicted that the pound would drop below
The refuse shifters also came closest to predicting the current
price of a barrel of oil, down from $29 a barrel in 1984 to $17 today.
Experts predicted that the price would rise to about $40.
The dustmen and the company chairmen were in almost a dead heat in
correctly forecasting that Singapore's gross domestic product would
overtake that of Australia. The others thought it would never happen.
Business experts have tended to downplay the success of the garbage
collectors in the ten-year forecast, but the dustman's union is making the
most of the triumph of the working man. A union official commented to the
_Manchester Guardian_: "It proves that the Chancellor of the Exchequer
doesn't need six wise men. He just needs to talk to the dustman-in-the-
-- The Winnipeg Free Press
© 1996 Peter Langston