Why I Will Not Read Forbes Magazine

We’ve had a lot of fun with stuff written by Steve Forbes here at Angry Bear. But the magazine that bears his (or his father’s) name publishes humor by others as well.

I was going to respond to Sammy’s post in the comments to that post, but figured my response could stand alone. Sammy quotes this article in Forbes by Jim Clifton, CEO of the Gallup Organization and C. L. Max Nikias, Provost of the University of Southern California. They tell us:

A quarter of a century ago, most leading economists–whether liberal or conservative–predicted that American economic growth would fall behind Japan and Germany by 2007. They typically estimated that Japan’s annual gross domestic product would be roughly $5 trillion by now, with Germany at around $4 trillion, and the U.S. lagging behind at roughly $3.5 trillion.

The predictions for Japan and Germany were reasonably accurate. But America grew to $13 trillion.

The BEA tells us that the nominal GDP for the US in 1983 was 3.5 trillion. I wonder if the authors or Forbes magazine would care to produce a list of these leading economists who were predicting that the US’ nominal GDP would not grow at all in 25 years, especially considering the early 80s were characterized by fears of high inflation. I do remember predictions from that time of how Japan was going to take over the world. I don’t have time to look any of ’em up right now, but I do wonder how many of those predictions appeared in Forbes magazine at the time.

One final observation – since they’re looking for reasons why the US has not performed badly in the past twenty-five years, and considering that the positions of authority these guys are in, I would humbly suggest they scratch “meritocracy” from their list.