List of predictions

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There have been various notable predictions made throughout history, including those by scientists based on the scientific method, predictions of social and technological change of futurologists, economic forecasts, religious prophecies, and the fictional imaginings of authors and science fiction. Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke wrote three laws of prediction.

Economic forecasting[edit]

  • In 1987, Ravi Batra predicted an economic depression in his best-selling book, The Great Depression of 1990. He subsequently wrote other books on surviving economic upheaval.
  • In 1996, economist Alan Greenspan famously stated that there was irrational exuberance in the stock market on Dec 5, 1996, and indeed, may well have contributed to it as a result of his policies as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. His warning went unheeded and the stock market continued to boom in the late 1990s until the stock market downturn of 2000 and 2001, when it became evident that the warning had been correct.
  • The Great Recession of 2007, arguably the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, was not foreseen by most forecasters. The failure to forecast the "Great Recession " was coupled with the inability to accurately estimate its impact.[1]

Scientific prediction[edit]

Political prediction[edit]

  • Unipolarity was predicted by Johann Gottlieb Fichte on the basis of his analysis of the challenge of Napoleon and by K'ang Yu-wei on the basis of the macro-historical trend and global closure.
  • In an article written in February 1945 titled "Das Jahr 2000"(The Year 2000) Joseph Goebbels made a series of political predictions about what Europe would look like in the year 2000. He predicted that Germany would be split in two, and separated by an "Iron Curtain". He predicted that Europe would be united, and that the British Empire would collapse and be replaced by the United States.
  • In 1888, Otto Von Bismark accurately predicted World War I. "One day the Great European War will come out of some damn foolish thing in the Balkans."
  • The Cold War was predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville on the basis of the expansion of Russia and America.
  • World Wars were predicted by K'ang Yu-wei and George Vacher de Lapouge on the basis of the macro-historical trend and global closure.
  • American unipolarity was predicted by George Vacher de Lapouge on the basis of combination of macro-historical trend, global closure and racial theory and by H. G. Wells on the basis of the development level.
  • The dissolution of the USSR was predicted by Emmanuel Todd on the basis of economic and national factors.


No one can see into the future. What I try to do is outline possible "futures" - although totally expected inventions or events can render predictions absurd after only a few years. The classic example is the statement, made in the late 1940s, by the then-chairman of IBM that the world market for computers was five. I have more than that in my own office.

Perhaps I am in no position to criticise: in 1971 I predicted the first Mars Landing in 1994; now we'll be lucky if we make it by 2010. On the other hand, I thought I was being wildly optimistic in 1951 by suggesting a mission to the moon in 1978. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin beat me by almost a decade.

Still, I take pride in the fact that communications satellites are placed exactly where I suggested in 1945, and the name "Clarke Orbit" is often used (if only because it's easier to say than "geostationary orbit").

Some of the event listed here, particularly the space missions, are already scheduled. I believe all the other events could happen, although several, I hope, will not. Check me for accuracy - on December 31, 2000.

— [2] Visions of the World to Come[3] (November 2001, by Arthur C. Clarke) - Clarke presents a speculative timeline of the 21st century.
  • Tomorrow Now: Imagining the Next 50 Years by Bruce Sterling in 2002. A popular science approach on futurology, reflecting technology, politics and culture of the next 50 years.
  • Our Final Hour by Martin Rees in 2003. The book presents the notion that the Earth and human survival are in far greater danger from the potential effects of modern technology than is commonly realised; hence the 21st century may be a critical moment in history when humanity's fate is decided. Rees gained controversy, and notoriety, by estimating that the probability of extinction before AD 2100 is around 50%. This is based on the possibility of malign or accidental release of destructive technology and has gained some attention, as he is a well-regarded astronomer.
  • Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs in 2004. As it implies the book warns of a pessimistic future, in this case caused by a decay in science, community, and education.

Religious prophecy[edit]

Utopias and dystopias[edit]

Science fiction[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Subler, Jason (2009-01-02). "Factories slash output, jobs around world". Reuters. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  2. ^ Clarke, Arthur C. "Sir Arthur C. Clarke's Predictions". Readers Digest. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Imagining the Future" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  4. ^ Z.P.G. (1972) at IMDb

External links[edit]