Robert Fogel, the 1993 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, has an interesting observation about the long-term historical pessimism of economists. He writes:

Simon Kuznets...used to give a one-year course in growth economics at both Johns Hopkins and Harvard. One of the points he made was the if you wanted to find accurate forecasts of the past, don't look at what the economists said. The economists in 1850 wrote that the progress of the last decade had been so great that it could not possibly continue. And the economists at the end of the nineteenth century wrote that the progress of the last half century has been so great that it could not possibly continue during the twentieth century.

Sounds familiar, no?

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