Lord knows, we all blunder from time to time. Still, this is pretty impressive:
"My last article of every year looks back on the predictions I made in early January to shed some light on the economic and financial events of the previous 12 months. This tends to be a humbling experience, and this year it is even more so than usual." Anatole Kaletsky, The Times, 31/12/07.
"In the last Economic View every year, I look back at what I predicted in early January, to try to shed some light on the events of the previous 12 months. This is nearly always a humbling experience. .. This year, however, the routinely humbling experience has turned into a ritual humiliation. How else can I describe the public confession that I am now compelled to make: I hereby confess that on or about 14 January 2008, acting of my own free will, not under the influence of any drug and aware of the consequences of my actions, I wrote the following statements in the Times: 'The global credit crisis, far from taking a turn for the worse, is now almost over' and 'There will be no US recession' and 'Stock markets around the world will rise in 2008'... I must apologise to anyone misled by my analysis." Anatole Kaletsky, The Times, 29/12/08.
Journalists, of course, are very fond of demanding accountability from their subjects but, quite conveniently if also naturally, reject any suggestion that they be held to such standards themselves. I can't, off hand, think of a pundit fired for being wrong all the time. It certainly doesn't happen often. That's not to suggest that the Times should divest themselves of Mr Kaletsky's services, but readers should probably not treat his pronouncements any more seriously than they would the horoscopes. I dare say this applies to other economics "experts" too.
[Hat-tip: Private Eye]