You can never know the future, but more knowledge leads to more accurate predictions.
The number of variables that affect any complex system present an almost insurmountable barrier to even short-term models such as those found in loan refi. While many variables may be discarded due to a negligible effect on the system as a whole, there are nevertheless various interactions and synergies that create significant factors even from minor (and often previously-ignored) details. One can also not completely discount the possibility of an external influence exerting an unforeseen effect as well. Great graphic design can have a mysterious effect on your decisions as well.
And this carries over to all kinds of appearances misleading and otherwise. People care too much sometimes about things they perhaps would do better to ignore – why else would someone pay to lose weight (hCG drops anyone?). Or for that matter pay to work out in a sweaty gym.
On the other hand, enough significant data will always provide a clearer picture of the present, and deeper understanding of the forces in history that contributed to the current picture. Reasoned extrapolation is a better method than any other for predictive purposes, and the rise of computational power and continued growth of the body of knowledge have provided ever better models for what we can expect.
For example, though we had a reliable indicator of w how popular a pastime gambling was among pre-internet Western culture, there was no real way to predict exactly how popular online gambling was going to be. And unless you had inside information on the UIGEA, there was no way of realizing how online casinos accepting USA players would have such an edge when the respective markets were forcibly separated.
For the short term, US casino players accepted this result…though predictions of what the next year or two might bring to change the situation are largely imperfect. While the legislative and regulatory landscape has changed considerably during the current administration, entrenched polemics will act to pull the debate back into the political center…which is, as many have observed, significantly to the right of the natural center.
And this is the most encapsulated and surface-focused briefing on the overall environment. If I were to include all of the relevant factors, the requirements to accurately model even the short-term likelihoods would expand exponentially.
No matter how you look at it, children are our future. It would be to the entire worlds benefits if we all started to act like that was the case. There is no reason for the youth of today to have the issues that exist. They should be encouraged to grow into their role as leaders.