I don't know the number of professional economists in the world who are "substantial" enough that they might get noticed if they prediuct.If you take that as having the word "professor" somewhere in a job title, I'd guess that is in the order of 5,000 in the USA, Britain and Europe.If you let them make forecasts, then you have a state space that is 5 years long then you have 25,000 prediction years. If they randomly choose positions then you have every economic situation that has occurred since cavemen bartered for stone knives to the impact on food markets of a rogue computer leading a revolution on the Lunar colonies.You have events that are so improbable that they would not be predicted by the most bizarre SciFi, varying from the biggest industrial growth since the 1940s caused by highly purifed lumps of stone, and a large number of people who make money by using the standard deviation of random events in the stock markets.Set in that context, of course some predicted a rough picture of what has happened.A few friends of mine have sort of betting club where we gamble on tail events. I for instance have money on British troops occupying Belgium and at least 1% of the citizens of China dying in civil violence.Neither are really very likely, but the mean time between failure of a countries since the industrial revolution is <50 years. (France is the 5th Republic, Britain's land area has shrunk by more than 1/3, Sweden used to have a suprisingly large empire that almost everyone has forgotten, etc.Economic crashes happen more often than you might think. The reason so many people are jumpy this time is that we've gone so long between large scale fuckups, indeed I suspect this is the longest period of monotonic growth in the world economy since the fall of the Roman Empire.Already, less than 18 months in, positive growth is already drifting into some Western contries, and places like China and India never stopped growing.Its been bad, but anyone who actually paid attention in history class, knows that much bigger shit happens much more often.