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The dismal science


For some time I've been meaning to check predictions from economists against earlier predictions from the same economist. Take, for instance, Warren Jestin. Yesterday:

TORONTO — The economic outlook darkened Wednesday as the chorus of voices warning that the recession will be long and deep grew louder.

Scotiabank chief economist Warren Jestin predicted the global economy won’t begin to recover until 2010 and then the revival will be "gradual and in some cases disappointing."

Most developed countries will see "virtually no economic gain" until 2011 or 2012, he said.

Eleven months ago:
January 09, 2008THE CANADIAN PRESSOTTAWA — Economists from Canada’s Big Five banks are in general agreement that the economy will slow this year, pulled back by weaker U.S. activity and ongoing uncertainty in financial markets.But they don’t expect a recession, either in Canada or the United States.And Warren Jestin of the Bank of Nova Scotia suggested that two per cent annual growth “may be the speed limit” for most developed economies over the next five years or more, amid “a huge shift” to developing countries like China and India.
In what other field could someone be so spectacularly wrong and still be taken seriously?And doesn't the media have a duty to put an economist's predictions in context of his past miscalls?


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