Taking Stock / Twelve Forecasts for 2008

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr, Nobel laureate in physics.

Yet this great man, the mind behind quantum theory, who shed light on the secrets of atomic structure, failed resoundingly. He failed to convince economists to desist at predicting, especially about the future.

A year ago, after three years of calling it pretty well in TheMarker's annual forecasts, we decided to retire at the top, and come January 2007 did not equip our faithful readers with our usual list of things we thought would come. Most say they did perfectly well without it.

Even so, we resume the practice this year: All will make some use of it, whether through making money because we were right or gleefully enjoying our embarrassment as we eat humble pie. So here goes.

The process of cartelization will continue in banks, credit cards, cellular communications, food, infrastructure, you name it. Competition will dwindle, earnings growth will be the province of the big players only. The regulators will see their power diminish even more in 2008.

That's how it has to be, because no matter how hard we try to detach ourselves from the past when peering ahead, forecasts by nature rely on what was, which isn't necessarily what will be.