Most people were surprised by the political defeat of Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican primary recently. Political pundits the previous night had yawned as they predicted the outcome: a cakewalk for Cantor. That’s the problem with pundits. They have no special wisdom. They stick their fingers into the air to see which way the wind blows like the rest of us.
A little humility, please. Let us remember we are projections of a quantum world that thrives on unpredictability. Pundits failed to predict the election of Harry Truman over Tom Dewey. They were wrong when they said television would be the death of radio and that Amazon would kill mom and pop bookstore, which are on the rise for no apparent reason.
Pundits also warned that strip malls would be a thing of the past thanks to the ease of internet shopping. The reverse is proving true. According to columnist Becky Quick “more new-store openings are planned than at any time in the past five years.” (“Retailing 2.0: The Humble Strip Mall Is Bouncing Back,” by Becky Quick, Fortune, April 28, 2014, pg. 56.) To understand why, Quick offers 3 reasons: 1) strip malls provide personal services not attainable via the internet — haircuts, sandwiches, pet groomers and gyms, for example. 2) Though many mall shops are part of large chains, like 7-Eleven, they support neighborhood activities. A strip mall is where you’re likely to find a Girl Scout cookie sale or kids raising money for a school project with a car wash. 3) The demand for personal services will grow as the population increases. It grew by 2000 people last year alone. (Ibid, pg. 56).
Frankly, I take comfort in the fallibility of pundits. No one should feel smug about the future and life should be full of surprises. As physicist Neils Boher, the father of quantum theory, once wryly observed: “Predictions are very difficult, especially about the future.”