• The usefulness of statements about the future… must be judged according to the purpose that they serve. In order to be useful for planning, forecasts must be linked, or permit being linked, to policy options. That is to say, only if statements about the future can be placed into a context that describes the consequences of alternative courses of action open to us, can they help us to shape the future more to our liking. Frequently, statements about the future are being made that cannot be related to alternative courses of action, and hence cannot be used to guide planning. Such predictions might serve purposes of entertainment, or perhaps provide some desired spiritual edification.