110 Predictions for December 31, 2017

Last year’s predictions (with updates as needed) here.

1. More posts will be posted on this blog this year than last year: 70%.

2. U.S. real GDP will expand slower this year than in 2014 (year-to-year; not Q4 over Q4): 90%.

3. U.S. real GDP will expand slower this year than in 2016 (year-to-year; not Q4 over Q4): 60%.

4. The Syrian government will hold more territory on December 31, 2017 than today: 70%.

5. The Kurds in Syria will hold more territory on December 31, 2017 than today: 80%.

6. https://www.torproject.org/download/ will remain accessible on the open Internet in Russia on December 31, 2017: 80%.

7. The unemployment rate in the U.S. will be higher in December, 2017, than in January, 2016: 40%.

8. The Black-White ACT score gap will not narrow in 2017: 50%.

9. The Houthis will hold more territory on December 31, 2017, than today: 30%.

10. The Iraqi government will hold more territory on December 31, 2017, than today: 90%.

11. The Yemeni government will hold more territory in Yemen on December 31, 2017 than today: 60%.

12. The Syrian army will hold Jisr al-Shughur on December 31, 2017: 40%.

13. Al-Mukalla will be held by Yemeni government forces on December 31, 2017: 80%.

14. The Marginal Counterrevolution shall make at least 365 posts during its second year: 90%.

15. The territory held by the Syrian government in and around Aleppo City will expand this year: 90%.

16. This blog will gain more pageviews this year than it did last year: 60%.

17. China will remain formally Communist on December 31, 2017: 90%.

18. Kim Jong-Un will still remain king of North Korea on December 31, 2017: 80%.

19. Robert Mugabe will still be alive on December 31, 2017: 60%.

20. Putin’s approval rating will remain above 40% in every reputable poll in December, 2017: 90%.

21. This blog will achieve a day with at least 400 pageviews: 50%.

22. Comments on this blog this year will be more than last year: 60%.

23. Mosul will be fully under control of the non-Islamic State forces on December 31, 2017: 90%.

24. Palmyra will be fully under the control of the Syrian government on December 31, 2017: 60%.

25. Raqqa will remain under the control of the Islamic State on December 31, 2017: 40%.

26. No Gaza War this year: 60%.

27. No intifada in the West Bank this year: 60%.

28. The Marginal Counterrevolution will have more posts published than Against Jebel al-Lawz in 2017: 90%.

29. The Marginal Counterrevolution will have more pageviews than Against Jebel al-Lawz in 2017: 90%.

30. The Marginal Counterrevolution will have more pageviews per post than Against Jebel al-Lawz in 2017: 30%.

31. The Islamic State will continue to not hold Syrtis on December 31, 2017: 80%.

32. Poroshenko will remain President of Ukraine on December 31, 2017: 90%.

33. The dollar price of oil will be higher on December 31, 2017 than today: 60%.

34. The price of oil will never be higher than $70 per barrel in 2017: 70%.

35. The price of oil will be lower than $60 per barrel on December 31, 2017: 70%.

36. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia: 100%.

37. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in Japan: 80%.

38. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in Vietnam: 90%.

39. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in Indonesia: 100%.

40. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in Germany: 60%.

41. Same-sex marriage will continue to be unrecognized in the Philippines: 70%.

42. China will record growth of 8% or higher in 2017: 10%.

43. China will record growth of 4% or higher in 2017: 90%.

44. China will record growth of 5% or higher in 2017: 80%.

45. China will record growth of 6% or higher in 2017: 50%.

46. China will record growth of 7% or higher in 2017: 40%.

47. Ethiopia will record per capita growth of 7% or higher in 2017: 50%.

48. Ethiopia will record per capita growth of 3% or higher in 2017: 90%.

49. Trump’s approval rating will be above 30% in the latest polls of 2017: 90%.

50. Trump’s approval rating will be above 50% at some point in 2017: 80%.

51. Russia’s economy will record Q4-over-Q4 real GDP growth in 2017: 70%.

52. Russia’s unemployment rate will end the year below 7%: 80%.

53. Russia’s unemployment rate will end the year below 4%: 10%.

54. Russia’s unemployment rate will end the year below 6%: 50%.

55. Russia’s unemployment rate will end the year below 5%: 30%.

56. Not one country will go off the Euro: 100%.

57. Mexico’s per capita GDP growth will be under 3% in 2017: 70%.

58. Mexico’s per capita GDP growth will be under 4% in 2017: 90%.

59. There will be at least two IS-inspired terrorist attacks in the United States that will each kill at least five people: 60%.

60. Belarus’s per capita GDP growth will be above 0% in 2017: 90%.

61. Belarus’s per capita GDP growth will be below 5% in 2017: 60%.

62. Belarus’s per capita GDP growth will be above 1% in 2017: 60%.

63. Africa will experience the start of one new civil war this year: 60%

64. U.S. nominal GDP growth will be under 7% (year-to-year; not Q4 over Q4) in 2017: 100%.

65. U.S. nominal GDP growth will be under 4% in 2017 (year-to year; not Q4 over Q4): 60%.

66. Trump’s approval rating will be below 70% at every point in 2017: 90%.

67. Russian life expectancy will increase in 2017: 70%.

68. The Wilshire 5000 Full Cap Price Index will be lower on December 31 of this year than today: 80%.

69. The U.S. will enter a recession in 2017: 40%. Normally, a yield curve like this would not indicate a recession for next year, but we do not live in normal times.

70. Iran will not get a nuclear weapon: 100%.

71. Russia will not invade any of the following: Finland, Alaska, the Baltic States, Poland: 100%.

72. Legislation on constructing Trump’s border wall will be signed by Trump in 2017: 90%

73. Netanyahu will still be Prime Minister of Israel at the end of 2017: 80%.

74. Afewerki will still be dictator of Eritrea at the end of 2017: 90%.

75. Tunisia will still be a democracy at the end of 2017: 90%.

76. Libya will not be reunified in 2017: 60%.

77. The Tobruk government will hold 100% of Benghazi on December 31, 2017: 80%.

78. Somaliland will remain unrecognized by the U.S. government: 70%

79. Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating will not rise above 60% in 2017: 80%

80. Le Pen will win the French elections in 2017: 40%.

81. Yemen will not be unified on December 31, 2017: 100%.

82. Syria will not be unified on December 31, 2017: 100%.

83. Keith Ellison will win the DNC Chair election: 60%

84. Turkish Cyprus will reunify with southern Cyprus: 0%.

85. Russia will hold on to Krim: 100%.

86. Russian-backed forces will hold on to both the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk: 80%.

87. Not a single act of terror will be prevented in 2017 where formerly and presently secret NSA mass surveillance programs made a crucial difference: 80%.

88. I will have at least 1000 Twitter followers by the end of 2017: 60%.

89. Same-sex marriage will be legal in at least one more country in 2017: 100%.

90. Same-sex marriage will be legal in at least five more countries in 2017: 40%.

91. Same-sex marriage will be legal in at least ten more countries in 2017: 10%.

92. Vehicle miles driven per capita in the U.S. will be higher in 2017 than in 2016: 70%.

93. The Islamic State will carry out at least five terrorist attacks carried out by men within Turkey that will kill more than five people in 2017: 80%.

94. The Islamic State will not carry out a single terrorist attack carried out by men within Israel except against the Arabs that will kill more than five people in 2017: 90%.

95. The Islamic State will not carry out a single terrorist attack carried out by men within Saudi Arabia except against the Shiites that will kill more than five people in 2017: 80%.

96. The Islamic State will not carry out a single terrorist attack carried out by men within Qatar except against the non-Muslims that will kill more than five people in 2017: 90%.

97. Chinese GDP per capita (PPP) will be considered by the World Bank to be above that of Thailand in 2017: 90%.

98. A bill cutting personal income taxes will be signed into law by President Trump in 2017: 70%.

99. Neither of my blogs will reach 100,000 pageviews this year: 70%.

100. Neither of my blogs will reach 100,000 pageviews combined this year: 60%.

101. My blogs will reach at least one million pageviews combined this year: 10%.

102. Not one presently Communist country will become known as a formerly Communist country by December 31, 2017: 70%.

103. Rex Tillerson will be confirmed as Secretary of State: 70%

104. I will be banned or shadowbanned by at least one website, Twitter feed, Facebook account, or YouTube channel by the end of this year: 100%.

105. I will be banned or shadowbanned by at least five websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook accounts, or YouTube channels by the end of this year: 90%.

106. AHETPI/CPIAUCSL will be lower in 2017 than in 2016: 70%.

107. A Supreme Court justice will be confirmed in 2017: 90%

108. I will finish at least three books of over 100 pages this year: 60%.

109. I will finish Scott Sumner’s Midas Curse before the end of the year: 90%.

110. Not one person (myself excepted) will, as per the comment policy, post one or more PGP-encrypted comments encrypted with my public key on any of my blogs: 60%.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

7 thoughts on “110 Predictions for December 31, 2017”

  1. You are appropriately cautious in your confidence level on the oil price predictions, yet perhaps not cautious enough. I’d note that your predictions can easily be translated into specific bets using options on oil futures, and because many companies need to manage their oil price risk on long timescales, even long-dated (1 year) expirations are relatively liquid markets.

    And remember that even Putin in his annual press conference remarked that he plans the Russian economy as if the oil price were a perfectly stochastic process. It’s not true, of course, as hedge funds like the one I work at do make money by predicting the oil price on both long and short horizons. But the level of predictability is very low and making 1-year bets like the ones you suggest is really only viable (in risk-reward terms) as part of a large, diversified porfolio of many bets.

    1. You are appropriately cautious in your confidence level on the oil price predictions, yet perhaps not cautious enough.

      -I was correct in both of my 2016 oil price predictions, at least. I don’t bet, so these predictions are just to test my predictive accuracy.

      It’s not true, of course, as hedge funds like the one

      -What are you doing reading these blogs, anyway? I find it hilarious you are a Jew working at a hedge fund (a common out-of-touch elite stereotype), yet usually have much better takes than pundits and the press typically do, read my two active blogs, and, so far as I can tell, support Trump. So what’s the reasons behind all of this? I’m not judging you, I just find this curious due to its uncommonality. Hedge fund types in Connecticut did NOT generally support Trump; in fact, they were some of the most likely Romney-Hillary voters.

      1. Well first of all I think you underestimate the degree to which business in general and finance specifically rewards accuracy in one’s view of the world and one’s predictions. If you either (a) believe that Jews are overrepresented in finance because of our vast conspiracy — join us on Tuesday nights at Olive Garden, or (b) are sympathetic to the Cochran-Harpending Ashkenazi genetic IQ theories, then you shouldn’t be too surprised about Jews wanting to have an accurate view of the world. Obviously there’s a range of phenotypes when it comes to pursuing goals that advance the interests of the individual versus the Tribe. In my case, I acknowledge my Jewish heritage but I’m enough of an atheist and an individualist that I ascribe little or no moral weight to Judaism qua religion, and assimilated enough that I do not view Judaism as my ethnicity, so my Jewish background just doesn’t have a lot of salience when it comes to how I think about myself. Zionism does nothing for me. I get some fulfilment from what I view as the more interesting aspects of Jewish history, and of course I have some sympathy for my kinsmen who were persecuted on account of their ethnicity (e.g. in the Holocaust), but I don’t really regard such matters as part of my identity in any deep way, and I’ve always thought that those of my peers who did have such an identitarian conception of Judaism were kind of dumb. Based on historical evidence (such as the late-in-life spiritualism of my grandfather) it’s possible I’ll feel differently someday, but I doubt it.

        My best guess is that this is ultimately a linguistic phenomenon. I’m roughly a monolingual English speaker. (I can understand a few bits of Hebrew, and decipher especially clear written or spoken French, but I took Latin in high school and I’ve never even come close to the point of thinking in any language other than English.) I think my experience is pretty representative of Reform Jews of my generation, and probably Conservatives as well, so I suspect that non-Orthodox Jewish identity politics is quite likely to go extinct in the USA within a few generations, but who knows.

        It’s interesting to compare with the case of Russians. With Russians you have the added wrinkle of pan-Slavism, which is hard to fully come to grips with. (Russian society and government never really settled on a policy about Slavophilia, as far as I can tell, and they’re not likely to do so in the near future.) With Jews, and especially Jewish-Americans, you have the issue of secularism. Politics clearly pushed Jews towards socialism, which in addition to being intellectually toxic was also explicitly secularlist. In some sense, it’s a strange case of intellectual autoerotic asphyxiation. To the extent Judaism persists as a distinct religio-cultural identity, I predict it will have more in common with Islam and evangelical Christianity. (This is not a particularly bold prediction.) The unique evolutionary niche it previously occupied — the “Woody Allen / Meyer Rothschild nexus” — in the 18th to 20th centuries, no longer seems viable, at least IMO. That niche was all about designated outsiderness, which on the one hand (finance) enabled Jews to evade usury laws, and on the other hand (entertainment) freed them to stretch certain other, orthogonal social norms.

        What about Russians? Westerners love their novels. We like the distinct perspective most of all, I think. (I’m no expert, but I wonder in the moment if Tarkovsky’s films, or Tchaikovsky’s libretti, were not successful partly because of the unique Russian perspective.) Russian history is very rich and I don’t fully understand it, but ultimately it boils down to Slavs and Cossacks, who are not the same people but figured out a way of living together and cooperating that is utterly different from the arrangements made by any people in Western Europe. In the West, it was all about separations and reunifications (after the era of barbarian invasions). There were certainly territorial changes in Iberia comparable to the conflicts in the East against Turkic tribes. But whereas in the West the underlying geography dictated and dictates a Holy Roman Frankish Empire European Union, I don’t fully understand the situation in the East. There are a few factors at work. There is the Hajnal Line (from Saint Petersburg to Trieste) which divides Eastern and Western European patterns of fertility and relates to medieval marriage ages. There is the Vodka-Hashish line, a latitudinal division between the steppe biomes in which potatoes versus marijuana provide the readiest source of psychotropic enhancement. And then there’s the steppe itself, which as an outsider I feel ill-equipped to analyze, but which must ultimately dominate any analysis of what makes Russia Russia.

        I ended up spending more time on this comment reply than I intended. I am not sure if I created any value. But it is what it is. Jews and Slavs: a parallel worth pondering.

        1. “I ended up spending more time on this comment reply than I intended.”

          -You spent way more time than necessary.

          “I am not sure if I created any value.”

          -The first third did, the bottom two-thirds are a weird tangent I’m having trouble understanding.

        2. On second reading, you apparently tried to answer a much broader question than the one I actually posed to you. My question was about you, specifically, and how you came to your present reading habits and views, and how they ended up being so different from the stereotypical ones of your broad demographic, not the determinants of Jewish behavior in general.

          1. I guess I meant to question your premise there about stereotypical Jewish patterns of thought. On the one hand it’s hard to deny that these exist, but perhaps to an even greater extent than in most cultures, even the most stereotypically Jewish cultural figures are fundamentally subversive. (I’m thinking of Jerry Seinfeld and Woody Allen specifically, but there are certainly other examples. Philip Roth. There might even be “stretch” examples –perhaps Primo Levi? Other, even more famous, Jewish writers? I’m not really qualified to say.)

            If you really think the right question to ask is about my own intellectual history, viewed microscopically, it’s pretty stereotypical and pretty left-wing until aged 18 or so. Intellectually, the turning point for me was probably reading John Tierney’s famous NYT article about the religious rite of recycling. I think it was my college roomate (now a professor of economics) who pointed it out to me, although I’m not certain about that.

            I think the basic difference between me and most of my relatives when it comes to politics is epistemic modesty. I wish that virtue was taught more explicitly in the Western canonical curriculum.

            But I have a really hard time disentangling epistemic modesty from group identity when it comes to translating a worldview into a political program. I feel committed to the former idea in an intellectually deep seated way, but not to the latter. I’m not sure why, or how, that happened. It’s probably worth understanding better.

            My earliest libertarian intellectual influence was Milton and Rose Friedman’s book Free to Choose, which I read around the age of 18 in AP economics in high school. (I don’t think it was in the curriculum, I think my teacher — who had a private sector background — just liked it.) I’ve never read Rand seriously, but I started Atlas Shrugged once and got bored. Shakespeare and Orwell are other possibly-significant authors who affected my thinking in high school. Once I got to college I started progressive — but I think I was strongly influenced by the civil libertarian strain of Obama’s 08 campaign — but felt pretty disillusioned by the time I graduated. After college, I was in grad school in the Bay Area, where the militancy and general idiocy of the Left was the ultimate force behind my rejection of the movement., to the extent that it could have been reversed. Concerns about epistemic modesty — and thus the socialist calculation problem — were foremost in my mind during this period. Ultimately I left academia and got the best job that I could get, which has worked out OK since then.

            1. This is a much better comment. I always had a pro-order streak in my thinking, even before my teens. I became a libertarian (and, for a brief while, an anarcho-capitalist) during and in the aftermath of the 2008 recession. I eventually became less ideological through 2010-12, but was very strongly repulsed by SJWry over the course of 2012. My last large-scale attempts to engage with SJWs were in late 2013. I started reading Sailer (and Slate Star Codex) in early 2014 and became increasingly attracted by the alt-right (and Market Monetarism) in the aftermath of Ferguson. The Strange Utopia was written just before I started taking Trump seriously (I did not take him seriously for a few months after he started running).

              even the most stereotypically Jewish cultural figures are fundamentally subversive.

              -Yup. I was a solid Judeophile until Sailer cued me in to this and other points.

              I think the basic difference between me and most of my relatives when it comes to politics is epistemic modesty. I wish that virtue was taught more explicitly in the Western canonical curriculum.

              -Agreed. I got that from the skeptics in 2010 and Less Wrong around 2013.

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