67. Making predictions is difficult, especially about the future

The title quote is attributed in different places to Yogi Berra and Nils Bohr. Even attributing quotes is difficult sometimes. The quote is important today, when the analysis of policy responses and decision making at the start of the coronavirus pandemic is gathering pace, now that some countries are past the worst. In conducting this analysis, we must not fall in the trap of judging the decision makers with hindsight. It appears clear now that those that went for a more aggressive crunch the curve rather than flatten the curve, got it right. But this we know now, after the experiment has been run (and bear in mind, it’s not over, we still need to see what happens with second waves). It is hard with what we know today to put ourselves back 4 months ago, to understand how decisions were made with what we knew then. Policy selection was a throw of the dice. Those who got it right, mostly got lucky. It is easy to know what the dice will say after they roll, but much tougher before they do

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