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The economy and the unknown

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The world is beginning to wise up and to realize that the future is not as predictable as some had portrayed it to be – particularly in the area of finances and national economies. When will things turn around?  When will investors regain confidence?  When will the firings, layoffs, and downsizing stop?  Or more personally, when will my family begin to feel like we don't have to worry anymore about our future?

The answer from the experts is beginning to be a clear, definite, unequivocal, "We have no idea."

In the Financial Times (2/26/2009), economic author and consultant Peter L. Bernstein made it clear that a recognition of our complete and total inability to predict where things are going should be settling in. After generating a list of questions about all the conceivable directions things could go – good, bad, or horrible – he comes to a conclusion: "We can neither answer these questions nor can we claim they are a complete list of the possibilities. The unknown today seems more than usually unknown."

Quoting John Maynard Keynes, whose economic ideas seem to be ruling the moment these days, Bernstein summarizes all we can say with any sense of certainty about the future: "We simply do not know."

Paul B. Ferrell, columnist for MarketWatch.com, is even more to the point. In his February 23 article, "13 'tipping points' to the brink of Depression," he points out that all the mathematical equations used to predict the economic future – whether on Wall Street or in Washington – are impacted by variables that no one can truly forecast, leaving everyone to ignore, out of necessity "big-picture issues that lead to meltdowns." Of those variables, Mr. Ferrell lists thirteen, such as the true impact of massive debt, population and resource concerns, national political maneuvering, the decisions of unstable governments with economic influence, the tension between the instinct to save money in an economy than depends on spending, et al. In his estimation, these factors – which cannot truly be captured in our economic equations – can control over 90% of the true risk involved in economic action.

Mr. Ferrell praises famous financier Warren Buffet for his honesty in saying "Nobody really knows" what the future holds, and his evaluation of economic prognosticators who claim they can accurately predict the outcome. "Every other forecaster is a charlatan, but won't admit they're faking it."

Referring to previously unknown possibilities as a "Black Swan" – an animal unknown in Europe until its discovery in Australia – author Nassim Nicholas Taleb stated in Fortune magazine, quoted by Ferrell, "We replaced so much experience and common sense with 'models' that work worse than astrology, because they assume that the Black Swan does not exist. Trying to model something that escapes modelization is the heart of the problem."

Yet, there is a source of knowledge that can guide us into a place of security and hope, with sure knowledge of the future and what it holds for us, our families, and our loved ones. Regrettably, it isn't seen in many halls of power, though that is rightfully where it belongs.

It is the Bible. While dismissed by many as a dusty old book that has little to say about the high-tech, fast-paced, modern world we live in, the Bible is amazingly relevant today! In its inspired pages we see the prophetic unfolding of future history in a way which not only makes sense of the headlines we see in today's newspapers but which also helps us to see what we should be doing to prepare for that future.

Don't get lost in the confusion around us. Let God show you in Scripture what's ahead – what the economists and their equations cannot see – and let Him show you what you and your family can do about it. Order our booklets The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy and Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled to get started.