Readers’ wild predictions: the Pope beat Dennis Rodman

23 Jan

Our wild predictions for 2014 achieved their goal: we received lots of even wilder ideas for next year than our own. Which is a real feat, considering the compliment we got from one of our readers: “Writing this much bullshit is almost like an art”;)

At the end of last year, we asked our readers to write their own wild predictions for 2014, and decide which one of ours may come true: is the Pope going to abolish celibacy? Will the Syrian civil war spread throughout the whole Middle East? Will INA find a vast unconventional oil field? (Those, who still want to vote for the winners, can check out our previous post! There you can find the entire list of our ideas.)

Pope Francis wearing a safety helmetIn for some surprise? Pope Francis. Source: hir24

We received more than 100 responses. Thanks to all of you who were inspired to play with us! (Our usual disclaimer: the results are not representative! The majority of votes and black swans were submitted via our Hungarian blog.)

Some of the results were predictable; however there are also some surprises! (See results in the table below.) Our prediction about the war in the Middle East prevailed against all others: in this, we wrote that the civil war in Syria spills over into the region, creating an oil-price shock. Almost half of our respondents thought this is the most probable black swan on our list.

What’s more surprising: the prediction that the Pope abolishes celibacy and allows female priests came in second. We had not thought this would make it into the Top 3, and the Financial Services Blog also quoted this option as the most unlikely one.

Readers’ votes* Guesses of what other respondents will pick
1. The Middle East burns. (Syrian civil war spreads) 33% 45%
2. Pope ends celibacy, allows female priests 15% 16%
3. Communication breakdown, Japan-China clash 13% 8%
3. End of the grid. Elon Musk sells cheap solar cells 12% 9%
5. Koreas reunited 9% 8%
6. Nuclear winter. France bans nuclear 8% 1%
7. Who wants to live forever? Generic cure for cancer 7% 9%
8. Huge Adriatic unconventional oil and gas find 4% 5%

 

The results, as % of voters  *: Based on the weighted average of votes ranked 1st-3rd place. (Weights are 3, 2 and 1, respectively).

Two predictions tied for the third place: the Chinese-Japanese cyberwar and the end of the electric grid.

Hardly any respondents deemed likely that prolonging healthy life spans to several hundred years by a generic cure for cancer could be possible. Still, right after we posted this wild prediction, we read the news that scientists think that one of the important causes of aging could be reversible (they published their findings in the December issue of Cell scientific journal). So even this might come true someday…

We also commend our readers for predicting fairly well what others were going to vote for. (In spite of the fact that 40% of our respondents still thought themselves to be smarter than the rest: they considered the top three most likely scenarios to be different from what they supposed others would choose. But this did not surprise us as the same occurred last year.)

And now let’s see our readers’ black swans!

 Readers’ wild predictions

Based on a map supposedly from 1088, the United Kingdom claims all the offshore wells and sends a carrier to the Dutch and Norwegian shores. As a response, France exits the EU, reintroduces the franc and starts a new nuclear plant building program. The Germans – based on the pre-election requests of the new governments – introduce the Euro in the Eastern European states, and eventually the full budget integration of the EU is achieved.

 

It might not even be a real black swan, but some kind of scandal/tragedy at the Winter Olympic Games.

 

I will get married 😉

 

A series of state bankruptcies, some countries switch to using bitcoin.

 

Growth picks up in Hungary while the current account remains in check. Rating agencies place Hungary on positive outlook. Hungarian prime real estate prices soar, “Paris of the East” becomes a new fad. Matolcsy named central banker of the year.

 

Catalonia exits Spain based on a referendum, the army interferes, the whole region is on the brink of a civil war.

 

The Australian real estate market collapses, and brings down the AUD with it. Japanese housewives start to bring their money back home from their favorite carry currency, causing an unexpected JPY strengthening. This shatters the dream of Abenomics, causing a crisis in Japan. The wave of crisis spreads around the world, causing severe shocks.

 

The unconventional oil and gas revolution suddenly comes to an abrupt halt.

 

Breakthrough in the world of quantum computers. Either Google, IBM or Intel builds a computer that is way faster than any before. The new invention crashes down like a tsunami on currently used classifying solutions. China and the other mistrustful countries switch themselves off the internet until the most affected tools are separated and/or an intranet is built.

 

Great Britain exits the EU. The rest of the EU splits into two parts: the Eurozone and the rest. Rules are changed to lower funding directed towards poorer states, and labor permits for workers from third countries are revoked. In the Eastern states, far-right parties exploit the recessions for their own political means and are able to form new governments, resulting in increased tensions between these countries. The Hungarian-Slovak conflict causes the most acute crisis in the history of NATO, which leads to the blowing up of the bridge between the two countries (at Párkány) and to general army mobilization.

 

The shale oil and gas revolution leads to a far lower oil and gas price. This results in a huge budget deficit in Russia, and the Russian economy faces a recession. Protests against Putin become stronger, while the government responds with heavy borrowing. All this eventually culminates in state bankruptcy and regime change, but only at the cost of severe street fighting and casualties.


Denmark will set up the largest prison facility on the island of Greenland, making huge money off importing prisoners from all around the world, making this its major source of income. Alternative scenario: Denmark will be at war with some other country to defend its right to the island since global warming will make it more attractive for human habitation.

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