My friend Paul Hodges was here in the office on Friday and showed me a shocking slide from a presentation which a well-known chemicals consultancy had given at an industry briefing in June 2008, showing peak oil continuing for years to come and hence high chemical plant operating rates and high profitability. As we all now know, it was as wrong as wrong could be. And if it wasn't so tragic, it would be laughable.
I thought again of this when I came across this joke in Daniel Finkelstein's column in Saturday's Times. It's a statistician joke, but it serves just as well as a forecasting joke ...
Two statisticians are out hunting, taking aim at a deer. The first statistician shoots: it's a good shot, but he misses by 5ft to the left. Cursing his luck he fires again, missing this time by 5ft to the right. Suddenly the second statistician starts jumping up and down, shouting, "We hit it! We hit it!"
Click here for a link to "A Checklist for Survival", an ICIS training webinar with Paul Hodges on Thursday 14 May at 14:00 GMT on: "Who saw this recession coming and how will chemical companies survive it?"