Evaluating The Arab Spring: What Would Tetlock Say?
By Bryan Caplan
I was never optimistic about the Arab Spring. But the spread of the hellish Syrian Civil War into Iraq leaves the net-effect-so-far quite a bit worse than I expected.
You could say, “You’re no expert on this topic, so your faulty foresight is understandable.” As far as I can Google, though, foresight demonstrably better than mine is very scarce. If you Google “Arab Spring disaster” or “Arab Spring success,” almost all of the hits “explain” good or bad things that have already happened. It’s almost as if Tetlock’s critique of experts’ epistemic vices had never happened. Which leads me to the following questions.
1. Who actually made testable predictions about the overall effects of the Arab Spring? E.g. on democratization, economic growth, or body count?
2. What were their predictions?
3. Which predictions were right? Which were wrong?
4. Did anyone make any bets about the overall effects of the Arab Spring? At all?!
P.S. If you feels that events have vindicated your superb foresight on the Middle East, it’s not too late to start making testable predictions. And publicly betting on them.