Thinkers commonly make the gross error of confusing what they see with what they want to see; the great and good thinker only forecasts futures after deep analysis of the most profound source of true knowledge – the present.
That sounds banal and limited to the uninformed. What about dynamism and vision, daring and contrarianism? These qualities exist and are very attractive to one and all. But they can lead all too easily to insane misunderstandings like those which led the bankers and investment bankers to create Doomsday.
Their actions made no sense when tested by what was really happening in the real world. Since the Crash, ‘the real economy’ has become a catchword. But any economic activity is inevitably real; the real question is whether the real economy is really understood.
That deep realism is rare indeed but was very visible in the wisdom of the late Peter Drucker, the pre-eminent management thinker of our times. He was blessed with a profound ability to read the present. Anybody who doubts the value of this talent is taking the first step down a dangerous, slippery path.