Daily Archives: January 2, 2014

Andrew Hill

Thursday’s doomy Financial Times editorial pointing out that 1914 began with a remarkable lack of foresight about what was later dubbed the Great War sent me back to the FT of January 1, 1914. The lead editorial on that day was about fertiliser: “As regards the prospects of the Chilean nitrate industry … these appear fairly promising” (this was actually, if inadvertently, rather prescient, given the eventual wartime demand for nitrates as an ingredient of high explosives).

Germany, however, was mentioned only in passing, in a Reuters report about heavy snowfalls interrupting communication, and the paper welcomed in the new year with a little light verse. In mitigation, the FT of the time was essentially a thin newsletter for City of London investors, but given what later unfolded, this piece of doggerelby a writer using the pseudonym “Optimist” – could go down as one of the worst bits of blithely business-centric forecasting ever perpetrated Read more