Here’s something from my predictions for the year 2007, which I had posted on September 9th, 2006. It took the business cycle dating committee until November of 2008 to acknowledge that the recession had actually started in December 2007. So I had beaten them by about 26 months.
6. The economy will (barely) muddle through 2007, ending the year with a slightly negative or at very best, zero growth in GDP. This is based on the infectious disease outbreak predicted above being of rather minor nature. If the outbreak is major, there will strong negative GDP growth.
Verdict: This happened almost exactly as predicted, with the recession beginning in December of 2007. Note that it took the Business Cycle Dating Committee until November 28, 2008 to announce that a recession had been occurring since December 2007. Woops!
The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met by conference call on Friday, November 28. The committee maintains a chronology of the beginning and ending dates (months and quarters) of U.S. recessions. The committee determined that a peak in economic activity occurred in the U.S. economy in December 2007. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in November 2001 and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted 73 months; the previous expansion of the 1990s lasted 120 months.
A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in production, employment, real income, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.
Because a recession is a broad contraction of the economy, not confined to one sector, the committee emphasizes economy-wide measures of economic activity. The committee believes that domestic production and employment are the primary conceptual measures of economic activity.
An alert reader has noted to me that the Science Fiction masterpiece of the 1930’s, Things to Come, is no longer available in higher resolutions from the internet archive. I had linked to it earlier in this post: Journey to the End of the Night (H.G. Wells Edition)
There is still a link to a lower resolution version here, though: Lower Res version of Things to Come.
Of course I have downloaded it, and will post here if it disappears from the internet archive. Why would the internet archive remove the higher resolution versions? Of course, I suspect that it is available over in a bit torrent download somewhere.
Looking through the overstock of my Grandfather’s bookstore, I have quite a number of Architectural Magazines, including many editions of “The American Architect,” “The Architectural Forum” (which actually covered Architecture, unlike today’s Architectural Forum, which almost no Architects read) and “The International Studio.” They cover the period from from the early teens to the late Thirties, but most fall between 1928 and 1934.
From the December 1930 edition of “The American Architect” there is an interesting article about Seadromes. Of course, no one today knows what a Seadrome is because they were never built, so this article is just about the only source I am aware of. There isn’t even an entry on Wikipedia. (Although there is a paragraph about them in the entry for Edward Robert Armstrong, the Engineer who had conceptualized and advocated the Seadrome concept.)
Continue reading “Journey to the End of the Night (Seadrome Edition)”
OR TYPES OF FAILURES OF PREDICTIVE FRAMEWORKS
A project that I have long wanted very much to do is to write a history of the Future, especially, a history of the Future as seen in popular culture. Certainly a society’s view of its future tells what it values, and what it fears. If the positive outweigh the negatives, then we have futures such as is seen in Star Trek. When the negatives outweigh the positives, we have distopias, such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, George Orwell’s 1984, the Mad Max movies, Brave New World, or works such as Philip Dick’s Blade Runner or The Lathe of Heaven. In each of these distopian visions though, society fails in different ways.
The failure modes are each different and therefore informative. Sometimes these distopias actually do seem to predict the future, or at least a little piece of it. It is telling that it is very easy to think of many distopian futures, but rather difficult to think of utopian ones. It is clear that we are more interested in our possible failures.
Continue reading “Journey to the End of the Night (H.G. Wells edition)”