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September 08, 2013



I have an opinion about dentists which coincides with my kind-of-own profession of language trainer. The job of both, when carried out correctly, is to make further actions unnecessary.

A person who learns how to communicate independently of their trainer is a person who does what the trainer should train them to do.

Similarly, a dentist who properly inculcates preventative dental care sets up their (no-longer) patients for life.

A little short-sighted at a personal level - it does tend to reduce one's income rather. But as a goal for all professionals - eliminating client dependence, rather than perpetuating it - perhaps this is one for the economists too?


Teeth don't respond to incentives or new information, while people do. In that sense, economist can never predict the future in a broad sense (macro, basically). Plenty of the research is still kinda useful for other reasons but not for prediction.


Not sure what Parris is on about. Portes was forecasting recovery in 2013/14 back in 2012.

"The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) is now forecasting 1.1% growth in 2013, down from 1.3%, due to a weaker global outlook." That was Nov 2012.

Is he referring to the actual percentage points, quarter of a percent either way? Pedantic or what! Otherwise I think he's been on the sauce.


quite. Parris was unusually glib. An economist is more like a personal trainer or a GP, not a fortune teller. Economists explain how our actions and experiences have brought us to here, and what our options are for the kind of life we want to live in future, but what kind of future we have is up to us and our choices.

James Reade

Spot on. Forecasting is a separate field from economics. You could have the perfect model of the economy, yet the moment something changes, your forecast from that model will be totally wrong. Occurs in all fields, of course, yet nobody gets quite so agitated when the predicted arrival of a mission to the moon is updated after the rocket gets knocked off course, and majors on about the original wrong forecast.

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