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Predicting a recession? Might as well predict the weather

Niall Ferguson

By Niall Ferguson (Original source Boston Globe)

“Edward Lorenz, the pioneer of chaos theory, famously suggested that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could set off a tornado in Texas. Even a tiny disturbance, he argued, can have huge effects in a complex system governed by nonlinear relationships.

But since 2016 we’ve seen the opposite. President Trump, far from being a butterfly in the Amazonian rain forest, is the 800-pound gorilla right at the center of the world. If anyone can cause chaos — in practice as well as in theory — it’s him.

Elected, unexpectedly, to the most powerful job in the world, he has spent the past two-and-a-half years not just flapping his wings, but wildly swinging his fists, as if intent on starting a global tornado. And yet the consequences of the gorilla’s antics have been remarkable for their smallness. Prophesies of political and financial disaster have proved wrong.

Until now.”

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