QUESTION: Are you familiar with that studies of pundits have shown that their forecasts are no better than chance. You seem to be in the category of what those studies at Penn University by Philip Tetlock called “superforecasters”. Would you care to comment on how you are right so often when others never are?
ANSWER: I am not familiar with those studies on forecasting but it makes sense. The vast majority of forecasting is nothing more than opinion. That is why they are rarely correct. Even Barron’s took a shot at me because in 2010, the forecast was that we were entering a bull market with new highs on the horizon following the crash of 2007-2009. Of course, Barron’s never wrote another piece to say the forecast was correct. Barron’s acknowledged I had forecast the 1987 Crash. But they never reviewed everything.
The press likes pundits to talk opinion. They are not really interested in forecasting. If they were, they would do a serious article on all our forecasts concerning the methodology that has been correct for a single reason — history repeats. Socrates puts the entire world together and maps out the capital flows. Just follow the money — that will mean you will be far more correct than sticking your finger in the air to judge the direction of the wind.
History repeats because human nature never changes throughout the millennium. We are a species that will never change because human nature remains the same since the dawn of time. There are Stone Age graves with people buried with dignity. The most amazing find so far of a Stone Age grave was of a female and two children hugging each other. They were carefully arranged in this position. This strongly indicated they had spiritual beliefs and cared for their dead, but most of all, it showed love.
Throughout millennia, people before recorded history showed how that they cared for one another. They also showed a consistent belief in the hereafter. There are even dozens of burials in the southwestern Siberian village of Staryi Tartas, where human remains were positioned in pairs facing each other. The rare couple burials are among 600 graves dating to between the 17th and 14th centuries BC from the Bronze Age Andronovo culture. Even in the Stone Age, there was respect for the dead shows love existed then as it does today among our species.
This respect has been a tradition in human communities that appears from the very beginning. But Socrates cannot answer that question. It can show the correlations with religions and demonstrate the similarities of cultures around a central belief system. It cannot confirm or deny the existence of an afterlife. That becomes opinion.
Human nature endures. We travel through time, and technology progresses with our knowledge. However, emotionally we remain very much the same. Society MUST move through these crash and burn periods. It is how we progress through history. We learn only through our mistakes — never our victories.
Therefore, the correct forecasts are not because of my personal opinion or some guess. Everything is based upon history and what that reveals is straightforward. Given the same circumstance, human nature will ALWAYS respond in the same manner, like an animal cornered will stand and fight even if it is a possum that normally plays dead. The future becomes understandable ONLY when you understand the past.