I am allegedly a human being, and as such I am susceptible to cognitive bias. One of my safeguards against gaining too much confidence in my own mental abilities involves periodically comparing my predictions to actual events.
I will pause here to say I assume that I forget the bad predictions and remember the winners. That’s how bias works. That’s also why I do this publicly, so you can keep me honest. I’ll tell you when I get one right from time to time, and I expect you to remind me of the ones I got terribly wrong.
I’ve been predicting for some time that healthcare spending was going to drop dramatically in our lifetime. This was a prediction based on the Adams Rule of Slow-Moving Disasters. The rule observes that whenever society recognizes far in advance a coming disaster, the disaster never materializes. That’s partly because humans rise to the challenge and partly because we are bad at predicting the future.
In October I predicted that Obamacare (which looked like a slow-moving disaster) would turn out okay. It’s premature to claim my prediction was right, but it’s moving in the right direction.
When doctor-assisted suicide becomes legal in most states, healthcare costs could plunge again because medical expenses are disproportionately allocated to the last months of life that most of us would gladly do without.
Today’s prediction is that doctor-assisted suicide will become legal in most of the United States in the near future. The battles over legal weed and gay marriage have proven that the majority of citizens are increasingly biased toward personal freedom and that the majority wins in the long run. And in this blog I’ve shown that when you ask the question right, nearly everyone is in favor of leaving government out of end-of-life medical decisions for loved ones. Liberals and conservatives agree on the wisdom of keeping government out of this sort of decision. (Some safeguards would be welcome though.)
The alternative to doctor-assisted suicide is a slow-moving disaster in which all of society’s resources are increasingly redirected toward keeping seniors alive. That future won’t happen. We’ll figure it out.
Co-founder of CalendarTree.com
Author of this book