Bronze-level articleGerald Celente

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Gerald Celente is a professional trend forecaster and founder of the Trends Institute. He claims to be able to predict economic and social trends. Specifically, Celente says he predicted the booming future sales of gourmet coffee, bottled water, and gold, as well as the collapse of the Soviet Union, the 2008 recession, the Asian currency crisis, and the dot-com meltdown - among other things.[1] Indeed, it seems to be hard to find a major event he didn't allegedly predict. Of late, Celente has been receiving an extraordinary amount of press a la Glenn Beck and Alex Jones with his assertions that American President Barack Obama's policies will lead to food riots and tax revolts. He plays a prominent role in Conservapedia's article on Obama, accusing Obama of "fascism light" and other such conservative-delighting tidbits. Celente is a frequent guest[2][3][4] on the Russian state-run[5] English news channel, Russia Today.

As with most prognosticators, Celente seems to have found the benefits of making extremely numerous yet vague predictions and keeping his own tally. Very few of his past predictions are available - while he posts "trend summaries," they are his summaries of what happened the previous year.

Major trend predictions

This list does not include short-term, reasonable predictions. For example, Celente predicted on February 14, 1999, about the approaching millennial New Year, that, "Employers should anticipate several weeks of low productivity."[6] This list also does not include predictions that are so excessively vague as to be interpreted any number of ways, like America "going broke."[7]

  • Made on January 23, 1987: The market will first 'go significantly higher' and then 'turn around'.[8]
    This claim is made in a newspaper article eagerly provided by Celente on his website - it's the basis for his claim that he predicted the 1987 stock market crash. And it's true that he did predict... well, um, yeah, that could apply. Sort of? It also claims that Ronald Reagan would resign, possibly citing health reasons. Ooh. Swing and a miss there.
  • Made during "winter 2008": During 2008, there will be an "Economic 9/11,” a meltdown that sometime this year he claims will be equal to and perhaps surpass the devastation wrought by the Great Depression.[9]
    While almost vague enough to be accurate it should be noted that (1) the 2008 recession was not even remotely as bad as the Great Depression, where unemployment topped 20%, and (2) the recession had already begun by this time, with the 2007 financial crisis already having crushed major lenders and the housing bubble popping in a spectacular way. Is it forecasting to read the news and exaggerate it?
  • Made on November 13, 2008: [B]y 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation, that there will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and that holidays will be more about obtaining food, not gifts. “We’re going to see the end of the retail Christmas… we’re going to see a fundamental shift take place… putting food on the table is going to be more important that putting gifts under the Christmas tree,” said Celente, adding that the situation would be “worse than the great depression”.[10]
    That's pretty specific and has a set date on it. We'll see... although given his track record, it might not yet be time to stockpile canned peas.
  • And that's it. It doesn't count to say that children graduating in 2000 will "shape the new millenium."[11] That's not a prediction. And pointing out that television doesn't reflect reality ("Life was never like Ozzie and Harriet."[12]) doesn't count either. That's a banal observation.

The lesson

If you want to call yourself a "trend forecaster," make audacious claims of predictive prowess, and use that to bolster your credibility, you would do well to sticking to extremely generalized statements about negative things probably happening at some point. Negative things tend to happen, and the less specific you are, the more credit you can take. Then, more people will probably buy your book and newsletter. Just be sure to keep your Wikipedia page as whitewashed as you can.


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