Cycles: The Science of Prediction

Cycles: The Science of Prediction

Cycles: The Science of Prediction

Cycles: The Science of Prediction

Excerpt

It is the business of science to predict. An exact science like astronomy can usually make very accurate predictions indeed. A chemist makes a precise prediction every time he writes a formula. The nuclear physicist advertised to the world, in the atomic bomb, how man can deal with entities so small that they are completely beyond the realm of sense perception, yet make predictions astonishing in their accuracy and significance. Economics is now reaching a point where it can hope also to make rather accurate predictions, within limits which this study will explain.

In these pages we shall be primarily concerned with a new approach to economics and the problem of economic forecast, with the near-term future of the United States particularly in mind. This approach moves partly through some avenues that in the past have been the province of other sciences as various as biology, psychology, and mathematics.

The study here falls into two parts. First, it shows that rhythm and periodicity exist in the natural world, and that our economic world, analyzed with similar statistical tools, also displays curvilinear forms and distinct rhythms. Second, it deals with some of the ideas which underlie these facts, suggests implications which seem safely implicit in them, and indicates some meanings which such facts hold for all of us.

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