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Welcome to TokyoFreePress Saturday, March 25 2017 @ 12:46 AM JST

Plans are One Thing; Forecasts are Quite Another

I was a good forecaster in the 1980s but had yet to
grow into a mature planner

Today, it's a little better, but weather forecasters are warning that unseasonable cold waves will come back over the weekend.

The Japanese archipelago is seated in the temperate zone except its northernmost and southernmost areas, but actually we are living in the cool-temperate zone these days. I think Hokkaido and Okinawa have now been moved up to the Arctic and temperate areas, respectively.

To me the biggest fallout from this climatic aberration is the further deterioration in my health. Among other things, I'm suffering from an aggravated sciatica. It involves intolerable pains just to move around or even sit at the computer. Actually I have been creeping around.

At first I was cursing weather forecasters for their failure to foretell this. It's outrageous that my sciatic nerves sometimes outperform the state-of-the-art super computers and weather satellites they are equipped with.

But now it has dawned on me that Prime Minister Hatoyama may be the real culprit for the freezing weather.

In the 1970s I was trained to be a professional financial planner. I did a lot of shortterm and midterm planning for the corporate balance sheets (financial positions,) income statements, S&A (sources and applications of funds,) and nearterm cashflow forecasts.

In the 1980s through the first half of the '90s, I was a local Chief Financial Officer of a Swiss trading company. At that time I was concurrently working on foreign exchange. As you may know, managing currency positions is critically important for an international trading company.

I think I did an excellent job there in terms of how far to go short or long with various currencies, and when to get into markets and when to get out. I won the first prize in the German mark section when Reuters Japan ran a forecast contest. At the reception, I was awarded bottles of vintage wine together with a testimonial.

The single most important thing I learned through these experiences is this simple fact:

Planning is one thing and forecasting is quite another.

This is nothing new, but the fact remains too many people act like they don't agree. I know why they constantly mix up the two different things.

One example is Japan's Prime Minister Hatoyama.

He is the guy who is called a loopy prime minister by the loopy U.S. President. So he is too retarded to understand the difference. Yet, it's very convenient for Hatoyama, or any other "professional" for that matter, to opportunistically, or sometimes arbitrarily, mix up the two different things when he tries to dupe people into believing in his fallacies.

A couple of months ago Hatoyama said he would reduce Japan's greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020. Soon afterward the other goof in the White House followed suit; he said he would cut back on emissions by 28% in ten years. Nobody believes these morons really meant it because someone who can't tell what happens tomorrow can't tell what happens in 2020.

Here, they mixed up their plans with someone else's forecasts, wittingly or not. Worse, the forecasts on which they based their plans are unscientific and largely distorted through constant politicization. We would be better off turning to a crystalball gazer.

But unfortunately, they have been very effective in fanning the cultist-like craze for environmental preservation. As a result, I suspect, they have already overkilled carbon dioxide.

That's perhaps why I'm having to crawling around this spring.

Let me add something here: When your forecast turns out to be wrong, it's not your fault. You don't have to apologize for that. Instead, you may want to learn how to improve the accuracy of your forecast, or just make up your mind not to do forecasting at all in the future. But when you fail to bring your plan into reality, you should be held responsible because a plan is something you are committed to.

Postscript: The now-famous nuke-free world we are supposed to see in 2020 is not a forecast, but it isn't a plan either because Obama doesn't look committed to it.

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Plans are One Thing; Forecasts are Quite Another
Authored by: samwidge on Saturday, April 24 2010 @ 11:28 AM JST

You are right again! It always amazes that the public is so easily herded with forecasts.

I can remember when "environmental scientists" in Los Angeles were deeply concerned about too much ozone in the air. It was caused by mankind and its dreaded automobiles. They forecast doom if we didn't do something immediately. At the same time other "environmental scientists" were concerned about too little ozone in the air and the resultant penetration of sunlight into the atmosphere. If we didn't do something immediately, they forecast doom.

I suppose that this makes sense to someone but I have never heard anyone rationalize the two opposing dooms of the same chemical. It would seem that the too much/too little ozone issues are more valuable to our heavyweights as political issues than as scientific ones.