How economists can cover up failed prediction like fortune teller

The Basic Idea:

Predictors –such as fortune tellers, voodooists, and economists– usually pretend to be a perfect predictor.
But of course, Anyone can’t actually know the future. So there is risk of failure of prediction.

I think there is a common way to hide failed prediction.
It is basically changing narrative from prediction to blame or plead a free agent who determine the course of future.


Step 1:

A predictor pretends to be able to foresee the future.

I assume that the reason why the predictor can foresee the future is the predetermined course of future.
The only way of time course can be regarded as a form of Laplace’s demon. It is only one chain of causation from past to future.


Step 2:


The predictor implicitly assigns a free agent who has possibility to change the future with its action or mind.
It is an exception, and an exogenous agent in Laplace’s demon. The agent can break the law.

It is usually unclear that how the predictor knows the exogenous free agent which is divided from predetermined causation.

The free agent can be God, consulter, or decision-maker.

It is logically inconsistent with the characteristic of predictor who can foresee the future. But it is a risk-hedge of failure of prediction.


Step 3:


If prediction is found to be right in reality, the predictor can say that it happened as I said.

But even if prediction is failed, the predictor can explains that the result was due to free agent’s action or mind, and he can plead to /blame the agent.

It means that the predictor can replace the narrative.
In the first place, the point of discourse is for prediction of future. But In the stage, the narrative is shifted to mention the responsibility of  the free agent.




Assume that a voodooist predicts rainfall by oracle. Even if rain din’t fall, the voodooist can say that the God somehow didn’t make rain fall.

So there is no possibility to deny voodooist’s prediction. when prediction is wrong, the God is responsible for the changing.

Then, the voodooist can plead to rain by more intense dance or different ritual.
It’s a replacing narrative; prediction to pleading.


Fortune telling:

Fortune teller predicts consulter’s destiny and future.
But as usual, fortune teller remains a degree of freedom of future. Fortune tellers often say that consulter’s mind or action can change the future.

So, even if the prediction is failed, fortune teller can explain that  the wrong prediction was due to consulter’s action or mind.



Assume that an economist proposes an policy, saying that “if policy maker do it, then it will definitely happen.”
it can be interpreted as a prediction of future with free agent. And the free agent can be used as risk hedge factor when the prediction is failed.

Even if it didn’t happen, economist can explain the reason, saying “it was due to inappropriate or insufficient action of the policy maker.”
The rationalization can easily slip into blaming policy maker for the result.
But in the first place, the economist’s point was a kind of prediction on causation between policy decision and consequences.

Blaming policy maker is OK when it is a evaluation of policy, not a prediction of policy.
Comparing actual state with theoretical ideal states such as competitive market or unbiassed distribution, economist can blame government how far the actual state from ideal state.
The reason is that the evaluation doesn’t require causation between policy and outcomes.

If economists propose policy based on prediction, they should do three things.

  1. They should include prediction about policy decision –what policy maker will do.
  2. They should announce how they know the effect of policy maker itself change the future that economists predicted before. In other words, how they can divide effect of policy from Laplace’s demon.
  3. They should verify causation between policy and result after the prediction is revealed to be wrong.
    In the effort, there is no need for blaming.


Future Tasks:

Verification of logics:

The idea in the blog post is not evaluated by logics. It should be verified by logic.


Merging the replacing narrative by implicit free agent based on more general discourse model.

Collecting examples of such narratives:

Collecting actual examples and analysis is necessary for fortify the view.


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