The tired tradition of cliché in every New Year message of "hope"

As the New Year rolls in, every man and his dog is issuing messages of "hope" for the coming Year 2011 and "reviews" of the past Year 2010, presumably entertaining the notion that some sort of wisdom applicable to the future lies in the past. That's fine of course, considering ours is a society with an extensive track record of failure as far as learning from the past is concerned.

What is disturbing, however, is how the Government dances around with pompons trumpeting the good fortunes Filipinos can "expect" from 2011 simply on the basis of the character who happens to be sitting in Malacanang and the "reforms" he supposedly "plans" to pursue. Worse, Filipinos, as has been usual in the last 50 years, have been conditioned to look to Government for their salvation -- always ready to credit a single leader for their fortunes or blame him or her for their troubles.

The venerable economist Milton Friedman provides some perspective around all the "forecasting" hubris that so traditionally shows up at this time of the year...

"Predictions are extremely difficult, especially when they're about the future."

... and so do the words of Fortune senior editor Shawn Tully as far as economic "forecasts" go:
The problem with these predictions isn't that they rely on complex economic assumptions. It's just the opposite––they're really not forecasts at all, but extrapolations. The pundits are telling us that recent trends will simply keep rolling.

The point I highlight here is quite simple:

The future is up to us.

No amount of talking up of the future by people who presume to be "experts" on it will change what we alone can make.


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