Tomorrow, February 2, Daniel Franklin, executive editor of The Economist, will speak at IESE's Madrid campus. Franklin will present the newspaper’s predictions for the coming year published in The World in 2012, the preview that The Economist has published every year for a quarter of a century.
In this year’s edition Franklin admits that this sort of crystal ball gazing is a risky business and that one should always expect the unexpected. For example, The Economist did predict upheavals in the Arab world and unrest in European capitals such as Athens, Madrid and London, but it predicted them a year in advance. He says they were right overall in their forecasts for the international economy but wrong in the specifics for the United States. Like just about everyone else, the paper underestimated the depth of the Greek recession and the knock-on effect on the euro.
Among the uncertainties we face in 2012 is the possible change in leadership in four of the five states that make up the permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, the United States and France. Meanwhile there could be political upheaval if the Arab spring takes root in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in volatile countries such as Venezuela. On the other hand, none of this will matter if the Mayans were right all along and the world is going to end on December 21.
You can follow Franklin’s talk live on Twitter at #IESEAlumniLive and read a full account of The Economist’s predictions for 2012 on the web the following day.