Saturday, February 5, 2011

Really Bad Predictions

It will be gone by June.
~Variety, passing judgment on rock 'n roll in 1955

In all likelihood, world inflation is over.
~Per Jacobsson, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, 1959

We will bury you.
Nikita Krushchev, Soviet Premier, predicting Soviet communism will win over US capitalism, 1958 

Everything that can be invented has been invented.

~Charles H. Duell, an official at the US patent office, 1899

I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone.
Charles Darwin, in the foreword to his book, The Origin of Species, 1869

Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.

~Irving Fisher, economics professor at Yale University, 1929

If anything remains more or less unchanged, it will be the role of women.
David Riesman, conservative American social scientist, 1967

Democracy will be dead by 1950.

~John Langdon-Davies, A Short History of The Future, 1936

A short-lived satirical pulp.
TIME, writing off Mad magazine in 1956

And for the tourist who really wants to get away from it all, safaris in Vietnam
~Newsweek, predicting popular holidays for the late '60s

Four or five frigates will do the business without any military force.
~British prime minister Lord North, on dealing with the rebellious American colonies, 1774

This antitrust thing will blow over.

~Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft

Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop - because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.
TIME, 1966, in one sentence writing off e-commerce long before anyone had ever heard of it

They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
Last words of Gen. John Sedgwick, spoken as he looked out over the parapet at enemy lines during the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864

Our country has deliberately undertaken a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far reaching in purpose.
~Herbert Hoover, on Prohibition, 1928

It will be years - not in my time - before a woman will become Prime Minister.
Margaret Thatcher, future Prime Minister, October 26th, 1969

Read my lips: NO NEW TAXES.

~George Bush, 1988

You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees.
~Kaiser Wilhelm, to the German troops, August 1914

This is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time.
~Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, September 30th, 1938

That virus is a pussycat.
~Dr. Peter Duesberg, molecular-biology professor at U.C. Berkeley, on HIV, 1988


Reagan doesn't have that presidential look.
~United Artists Executive, rejecting Reagan as lead in 1964 film The Best Man

Capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of nature, its own negation.

~Karl Marx

Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.

~Grover Cleveland, U.S. President, 1905

Man will not fly for 50 years.

~Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, to brother Orville, after a disappointing flying experiment, 1901 (their first successful flight was in 1903)

I am tired of all this sort of thing called science here... We have spent millions in that sort of thing for the last few years, and it is time it should be stopped.
Simon Cameron, U.S. Senator, on the Smithsonian Institute, 1901

The Americans are good about making fancy cars and refrigerators, but that doesn't mean they are any good at making aircraft. They are bluffing. They are excellent at bluffing.
Hermann Goering, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, 1942

With over fifteen types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself.

~Business Week, August 2, 1968

The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name, others for the sake of mere gain.
Martin Luther, German Reformation leader, Table Talk, 1530s(?)

Ours has been the first [expedition], and doubtless to be the last, to visit this profitless locality.

~Lt. Joseph Ives, after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861

There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.

~General Tommy Franks, March 22nd, 2003.