Something that surprised me from the interview with David Laibson was him saying that the ability to predict economic events 20 years in the future would likely not be possible for generations, or perhaps ever. Economics is a system that is almost entirely based on human nature. While I agree that human nature can be very unpredictable, and that these uncertainties can compound to astronomical levels over long periods of time, I think it's short sighted to say that the ability to do something like this may never be possible. We learned in this course that we've only been making sophisticated predictions for a small fraction of human history, and a much smaller fraction of the history of the universe. Assuming our species isn't eliminated in the near future by an extinction event, we have lots of time for current technologies to develop and new technologies to emerge that are capable of things beyond our current comprehension, so who's to say that a seemingly impossible prediction in the present may be possible in the future?
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I like your optimism... but I may have to bet on Laibson. Humans are SO “unpredictable”!