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John Thomas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with honors and a minor in mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) in 1974. He moved to Tokyo, Japan where he was employed by a medium-sized Japanese securities house. Thomas became fluent in Japanese... More
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  • Billions Will Die in the Impending Famine. Buy Ags 17 comments
    Apr 17, 2009 6:51 AM | about stocks: POT, MOS, AGU

     Pack your portfolios with agricultural plays like Potash (NYSE:POT), Mosaic (NYSE:MOS), and Agrium (NYSE:AGU) if Dr. Paul Ehrlich is just partially right about the impending collapse in the world’s food supply. You might even throw in long positions in wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice. The never dull, and often controversial Stanford biology professor told me he expects that global warming is leading to significant changes in world weather patterns that will cause droughts in some of the largest food producing areas, causing massive famines. Food prices will skyrocket, and billions could die. At greatest risk are the big rice producing area in South Asia, which depend on glacial run off from the Himalayas. If the glaciers melt, this will be gone. California faces a similar problem if the Sierra snowpack disappears. Rising sea levels displacing 500 million people in low lying coastal areas is another big problem. One of the 77 year old professor’s early books “The Population Bomb” was required reading for me in college in 1970, and I used to drive up from Los Angeles to hear his lectures (followed by the obligatory side trip to the Haight-Ashbury). Other big risks to the economy are the threat of a third world nuclear war caused by population pressures, and global plagues facilitated by a widespread growth of intercontinental transportation and globalization. And I won’t get into the threat of a giant solar flare frying our electrical grid. “Super consumption” in the US needs to be reined in, where the population is growing the fastest.  If the world adopts an American standard of living, we need four more Earths to supply the needed natural resources. We need to raise the price of all forms of carbon, preferably through taxes, but cap and trade will work too. Population control is the answer to all of these problems, which is best achieved by giving women an education, jobs, and rights, and has already worked well in Europe and Japan. All sobering food for thought.

    Stocks: POT, MOS, AGU
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Comments (17)
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  • kozanack
    , contributor
    Comments (46) | Send Message
    Dr. Paul Ehrlich's has been making predictions of doom since the 1960s. They have all been wildly wrong. Wouldn't it make more sense to identify those who have correct, and listen to them instead?
    17 Apr 2009, 08:13 AM Reply Like
    , contributor
    Comments (123) | Send Message
    Being a few decades off when making predictions about the multi-millennial history of human civilization is hardly a wide miss. Incidentally, it was in the late 60's when alarmed scientists began knocking at LBJ's door, hoping to present the Prez with some interesting math they discovered while observing subtle shifts in climate. If we only HALF believe what a character like Dr. Paul Ehrlich is saying, we would be wiser.
    18 Apr 2009, 11:04 AM Reply Like
  • RitaLin
    , contributor
    Comments (15) | Send Message
    Let's say (for the sake of the argument that) Dr. Doom's predictions here are something to be actually concerned about:
    Yeah, that sounds about right - when facing a threat of massive famines, global destruction & death of billions, our main concern should be packing our portfolios with "agricultural plays" because "Food prices will skyrocket, and billions could die."
    20 Apr 2009, 10:30 AM Reply Like
  • Chillvesting
    , contributor
    Comments (9) | Send Message
    WOOOOOOOORD! To lovely rita, meter maid. The ags are screwy at best! I'm hoping for trade embargoes with cuba to be broken and to drive on sugar, that way we can grow corn without all the ridiculous nitrogen (mmm pot-ash) seeping into our UST's[not a trading symbol].


    "The ags are funny sort of microeconomic elemental cyclicals, and I dont enjoy them or airline stocks!"


    -J. Gramer
    20 Apr 2009, 06:30 PM Reply Like
  • guymar
    , contributor
    Comments (121) | Send Message
    The proportional-to-the-qu... not entirely without credibility
    30 Apr 2009, 08:06 AM Reply Like
  • guymar
    , contributor
    Comments (121) | Send Message
    ouch my word got truncated: you should have read (what I typed): proportional - to - the - quadrillion - debt - crisis - dustbowl
    30 Apr 2009, 08:08 AM Reply Like
  • HCSKnight
    , contributor
    Comments (51) | Send Message
    Im sorry, PhD's who think they know what will happen due to climate change, regardless of the driver behind the change, are simply showing us far far more about their personality, desires and ideology than their knowledge of that which they speak.


    The fact is the scientific knowledge that exists regarding climate change, both in the source/nature of the climate change and in what may come from the resulting changes, is at best a SWAG.


    Scientists who present climate change as anything otherwise should be ashamed and shamed.


    7 May 2009, 10:10 PM Reply Like
  • Marsden
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
    "Population control is the answer to all of these problems, which is best achieved by giving women an education, jobs, and rights, and has already worked well in Europe and Japan."


    However, those are the only places where it's worked. The rest of the world (the Americas included) are skyrocketing in population. We're now about 7 Billion people and still climbing.
    1 Jun 2009, 04:21 AM Reply Like
  • ozymandias888
    , contributor
    Comments (29) | Send Message
    It's been stated that resource wars consume about 25% of the affected military age male population. That should provide a good start.
    4 Jun 2009, 05:52 PM Reply Like
  • jambo
    , contributor
    Comments (310) | Send Message
    Mother earth could easily afford to give up a couple of billion of her children. Those remaining will have access to drugs/medicine allowing them to reach 120.
    Imagine.... yikes I just had an eeewww moment.
    The war -come on, you know its coming, that's how these things always end up- oughta take out another bil or worse this time.
    The bubble du jour was sweet though, huh? Careening down hwy 1 in the 12 cyl Benz wishing the dinosaurs had lived another mil or so yrs so that gas was cheaper. I am not so proud of our generation sometimes BUT: there is little we can do about having been born on the downslope of the second ice age. Hey, its gonna get warmer Dr., OK?
    17 Jun 2009, 08:58 PM Reply Like
  • Mad Hedge Fund Trader
    , contributor
    Comments (4963) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Dr. Paul Ehrlich says the 200 million in U
    s polulation growth since WWII has been unecessary. I think a virus will take ou the excess, like another 1918 Spanish flu. Keep up those flu shots!
    20 Jun 2009, 02:09 PM Reply Like
  • Speedspirit
    , contributor
    Comments (258) | Send Message
    Wow alot of misinformed comments on this one. Lets clear a few things up:
    1) the earth was in a warming trend due to the tilt of the axis and our orbit around the sun we are now in a phase shifting back away from this tilt and as seen this last winter the effects of Global Warming are reversing. Yes, this is true.
    2) God created this planet and environment for continued growth there is no need to be ever without natural resources for the entire planet if we would only act for the good of all the people not just the rich and powerful.
    3) War is absolutely good for nothing.
    4) Population is not a problem. A growing population is something the power elite fear because of the immense power the common people hold by just thier numbers.
    5) This is all why the US Goverment should be rebuilding the countries infrastructure to be ready for the future. $700 billion or closer to the $13 trillion spent to bail out the crooks of bad banks would have served a much better purpose reorganizing the world for clean water, better electrical service and mass transportation.
    6) The reason thay LET the crisis develop was too create a new world in NEED of strict Govt regulation and control. And to pay for thier mistakes and for our right to live in thier world we will be sooo taxed as to
    become powerless.
    7) The need to start a few wars and create a Swine Flu pandemic is to knock down the populations numbers for gaining World Power. Just like how the stole trillions of dollars in open site they will continue to rewrite laws to serve thier needs.
    Trading/investing in thier environment is becoming an unpatriotic action. Fear not God is not powerless and will triumph over all evil in our world.
    20 Jun 2009, 03:32 PM Reply Like
  • jambo
    , contributor
    Comments (310) | Send Message
    Wow, nice to finally hear something from planet X. Keerist, guess WE'VE been told, huh?
    21 Jul 2009, 12:16 AM Reply Like
  • GotLife
    , contributor
    Comments (1357) | Send Message
    You could fill a computer with all the forecasts of linear or exponential algorithms computing the end of a resource or climate change. Here are but a few.




    1) - Rising world population leads to massive famines and war. Reality - Improved yields, previously thought impossible, results in China being a net exporter of rice, in spite of huge population increases.


    2) - Oil reserves decline by end of decade. Reality - Oil reserves vastly increased through technology in exploration and extraction.


    3) - Coming global Ice Age triggered by pollution blocking sun's rays. Reality - Pollution in major industrial countries reduced so dramatically we now worry about too much solar energy being trapped by CO2.


    Most of these were advanced by the Vietnam genius Robert McNamara as a linear mathematical certainty.


    As far as global warming, the oceans and the planet have been COOLING for the last decade. Please check your facts! This is why the advocates of CO2 reduction have changed the cry from Global Warming to Climate Change.


    Does anyone here know the probability of a one week, one month or one year weather forecast being accurate? The probabilities are extremely low, even when calculated by NWS's hundreds of millions in Supercomputers.


    And finally, I believe strongly in climate change. In fact, the last 5000 years have been the ONLY stable period of climate in Earth's history with previous periods having wild swings of several degrees over hundreds of years. Archeologists are exploring Native American sites 30 mile off shore in 30 feet of water in the Gulf. Used to be coastline!


    The Earth never did and never will have a thermostat like your apartment...


    Betting your portfolio on these forecasts is probably a lower probability than the Mega Lotto. And even if you are right, what is the probability of you being around to collect?
    20 Aug 2009, 12:53 PM Reply Like
  • twotraps
    , contributor
    Comments (277) | Send Message
    Investing in ags sounds good, but they are emotional markets like gold and crude. Years ago Corn took off on fears of failed crops due to too much rain in the mid-west. Up Up Up for days.....the day they declared it national emergency, corn was limit down for days and did not recover for years. Doh!!
    28 Sep 2009, 11:34 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (9601) | Send Message
    Seems to me the biggest cause of famine will be the speculators and the Federal Reserve Chairman who is flooding the world with a devalued dollar and watching dollar-denominated commodities rise up like the waters of Noah's Great Flood.


    You are not supposed to use the words "Global Warming", don't you know. Now that evidence shows the Earth is no longer warming, you're supposed to use the phrase "Climate Change". This means it might get warner and it might be colder but either way man is finished.


    Get a sane man in power at the Federal Reserve and food prices and the resulting famine go away pretty quickly.
    28 Jan 2011, 03:39 PM Reply Like
  • phdinsuntanning
    , contributor
    Comments (1270) | Send Message
    the wold is cooling not warming I think, in any case whatever oil do ags will follow. As the economy is cooling almost everywhere producing food will be ok, as oil will be cheaper than now, so no worries mate
    23 Apr 2012, 08:46 AM Reply Like
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