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August 20, 2008

New Tomdispatch


Apocalypse Later
A Futurologist Looks Back at 2008
By John Feffer

Being a futurologist means never having to say you're sorry. Our predictions always come true eventually -- or, if they don't, well, how quickly people forget. Look at Newsweek's George Will. He predicted that the Berlin Wall would endure, and in an article published on the very day in 1989 that the Germans were tearing it down. That should have been enough to revoke his futurology license and demote him to sports writing. But no, almost three decades later he's still peering into his crystal ball.

Never apologize, never look back: that's our motto.

But this time -- think of it as the exception that proves the rule -- I really screwed up. We all did.

If you look back at the predictions we made in 2008 about the United States and the world, you'll see just how wrong we were. Today, in 2016, it's time for a mea culpa on behalf of the profession. Both camps, you see, were wrong. The Chicken Littles who predicted dramatic catastrophe were just as far from the mark as the Panglossian utopians who predicted dramatic change for the better...

No one anticipated what would really happen over the two terms of the Obama administration, even though that's the job of us futurologists -- and I was one of the best paid in the profession.

Where did we go wrong? How could I have been so blind? That's what I'm going to try my best to explain.

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at August 20, 2008 10:06 PM

Let's take a look at some prestigious Yale students, shall we?

George Bush, Dick Cheney, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Joseph I. Lieberman.

In other words, Yale is the source of all our problems.

Posted by: Kevin at August 20, 2008 11:06 PM

The futurologist IS very optimistic, looking back from 2016 to 2008. How about looking back from Jan 20, 2009 to today?

Posted by: Rupa Shah at August 21, 2008 10:00 AM