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It should be no surprise when forecasts are way off the mark. What is surprising is to find systematic over or under-prediction lasting for several decades. A good example is life expectancy. For very many years now, the life expectancy of men in Britain has been rising at the rate of three months per year, with that of women rising somewhat more slowly. What is startling about this fact is the sheer stability of this rate of increase. Most people imagined that it would slow down at some stage since it plainly cannot go on for ever. The government actuary’s…

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