MAKING SOCIOLOGICAL PREDICTIONS.
Although the track record of sociologists in making social predictions is not impressive, someone must make social predictions. Every policy decision is based upon certain assumptions about the present and future state of the society. A legislator who says "We need more severe penalties to curb drug pushing" is predicting that more severe penalties actually will curb the narcotics business without creating even greater problem, Another legislator who says "Legalize marijuana" is making a set of predictions about the consequences of this action. Thus every policy recommendation inevitably implies a set of assumptions and predictions. What sort of predictions do sociologists offer? Here are a few samples, offered without explanation or documentation at this point, as examples of the kind of predictions sociologists can make:
The trend toward employment of women will continue until most women are working for most of their married lives. Birth rates will fall to approach death rates, or death rates will rise to approach birth rates. Despite some experimentation with alternatives,the monogamous nuclear family will continue to be the basic family type in the United States.
The present popularity of jeans and casual clothing among young people will be followed by a return to high-style clothing.
The recent trend toward early retirement will soon be replaced by efforts to lengthen the. work career
Most social science prediction consists not of predicting specific developments, as the astronomer predicts an eclipse, but of forecasting the general pattern of trends and changes .which seem most probable Bell The Coming of Post illustrious Society: A Churchill ill Social Forecasting, 1973. All such predictions or forecasts should be offered with a certain humility, for no certainty attends them. instead, social scientists offer them as the best, , most informed guesses available upon which to base our policy decisions and expectations for the future.