This year of 2012 is coming to close. While some choose to look back and see who should win The Person of the Year award bestowed by TIME, I instead opt to opine that this was a horrible year for those in the prediction trade.
In South Africa, an amendment to a law would impose a sentence of ten years and a fine of 800,000 pounds on any meteorologist who issued a severe weather warning without receiving official permission first.
In Australia, a federal court issued a judgement against Standard & Poor’s, a financial services company, for providing high ratings to financial products that ultimately lost most of their value.
In the United States of America, during the presidential election of this year, many political prognosticators and pundits (and mostly those not relying on actual data) had egg on their face on November 7 when the final tally was not as close as their public pronouncements made out. Probably the biggest forecasting failure belonged to Dick Morris, who at least did admit he was wrong and offered up an explanation.
Given that three of my four stories above deal with legal and financial consequences being handed out for people and organizations that failed in their predictions, and;
Given that twenty-eight out of the thirty-nine political pundits being tracked by PunditTracker that have grades have a grade of “F”…
…my follow-up question is this:
What do you think would happen to the industry of talking heads and political pundits if each prognosticator faced a fine or other consequence for every wrong prediction they made?