When it comes to heading to warning signs, us humans haven’t done very well. In fact we are used to ignoring warning signs till it’s too late. Maybe we are too optimistic or just too lazy and short sighted to see our own mistakes. Whatever it is, we could do well to be a little more open to such warning signs. Let these historical mistakes that led to great disasters be a lesson to us. Here are 7 warning signs that we ignored and then faced disastrous consequences.
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression was predicted by economist Roger Babson for many years before it happened. He kept warning everybody and everybody kept ignoring him. Till the crash finally happened and then Roger Babson had the chance to say, “I told you so” but I don’t think that he did. More than $5 billion evaporated and disappeared from the market leading to a decade of hardships for the whole nation.
In 1970 the world’s deadliest avalanche occurred in Peru when Glacier 511 came down into the valley after an earthquake and buried 25,000 people alive. The sad thing is that in 1962, two students, David Bernays and Charles Sawyer, had warned the people of the valley below that the glacier was highly unstable. They were thrown in jail for two weeks for causing panic. They were released when they recanted their statements.
The financial crash of 2008 that is still causing problems throughout the world had been expected for a long time. You might feel angry at this if you lost your job due to the recession but the sad thing is that many different people had been warning of a crash for many years but they had been ignored by governments, businessmen and bankers all around the world. Another sad thing is that the crash of 2008 was a man made disaster that caused so much damage just because the insatiable greed of a few men in power. Want to hear another sad thing? These men are still in power and still running things.
The 2010 Haiti earthquake caused a lot of devastation in the country. Thousands were killed and whole villages were annihilated. A lot of people are still homeless and suffering because of the destruction caused by the earthquake. Since 1998 Claude Prepetit had been warning about an impending earthquake and asking the authorities to make arrangements to ensure people’s safety. But nothing was done and his warnings were totally ignored. If the buildings had been made safer and stronger, the destruction could have been much less.
The September 11 attacks of 2001 were not a surprise attack. The intelligence agencies had known about the impending attacks for over a year. They had tried to warn the government and the Pentagon officials but nothing was done. They chose to believe that the intelligence reports of their own CIA were not correct and that Saddam Hussein had cooked it up to take attention away from himself. The issue was raised many times but was rejected even on September 6 and just 5 days later the attacked happened.
World War II had many warning signs. After the surrender of Germany at the end of World War I, economic fines were imposed on them that would take many generations to pay. British economist John Maynard warned that this desire to take vengeance by sending Germany into poverty for such a long time would only result in revolt and revolution. His warnings were ignored even though he tried desperately to get his point through to the politicians. But nothing was done and everything happened just as Maynard had predicted. The German economy crashed and lead to the rise of extremist Nazi government led by Adolf Hitler. The rest, as they say, is history.