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Jeremy Grantham's latest essay, an apocalyptic description of a planet running out of resources,...

Jeremy Grantham's latest essay, an apocalyptic description of a planet running out of resources, is either a wake-up call or the mother of all sell signals. One hundred years of commodity price declines have been wiped out since 2002, says Grantham, contending a similar length uptrend is now in place.
Comments (77)
  • Tack
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    He's just Thomas Malthus, 213 years late, and equally wrong.
    25 Apr 2011, 06:36 PM Reply Like
  • noodles
    , contributor
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    Please elaborate where you disagree.
    25 Apr 2011, 06:37 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
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    noodles:

     

    The whole idea that the Earth is suddenly running out of everything is as old as man and plays to a fear-ridden age, we seem to live in, now, that envelopes Earth every so often. It's promoted and capitalized upon by elements (almost always leftist) who seek near-dictatorial power to control others and use fearmongering as the main tool, since an impressionable public is mostly ignorant of the facts and easily spooked by the media.

     

    Just to cite a couple simple examples:

     

    If one believed the "cw" promoted by "globalist" prevaricators, one would quickly conclude that the world was about to run out of oil and other fossil-energy forms. In fact, proven reserves of coal, natural gas and oil are at this moment at the highest levels in recorded history, not in any precipitous decline. The facts are routinely obfuscated and outright fabricated because it serves the agenda of those who wish to control others.

     

    Food is now produced in abundance and at the most efficient level of resource use in history and it continues to improve annually. Any "starving masses" are a function of politics, graft and inability to distribute the food, not in any inability to produce it.

     

    People are so easily duped and frightened that it's very difficult for any progressive thinking on such matters. We suffer because of our own collective ignorance and rush to embrace fear.
    25 Apr 2011, 06:56 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
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    I'll do it.

     

    The technologies to rapidly increase our food, water and energy production already exist but the cost and ROI is not in place to take advantage of them, i.e. as demand increases, and prices rise, competitive technologies will become price competitive and can then be adopted.

     

    I.e, Grantham is Malthus, 213 years late.
    25 Apr 2011, 07:01 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
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    A hobo can buy two mid-size tacos for forty nine cents at Jay in the B, which leaves him with the rest of his paycheck to stock up on a fifth of cheap grain mash. The homeless eat like rock stars. It was only 70 years ago where this wasn't true at all. Now we sneeze and in the blink of an eye Jesus feeds the five thousands.

     

    All in all, we live in a very affluent country where even those with the least ambition make out like kings.
    25 Apr 2011, 07:10 PM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
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    I was trained as an economist, but it may very well be that the commodity abundance of the 20th century was an aberration. Certain key resources like oil do not replenish themselves and we should expect a painful migration away from oil during the first thirty years of this century.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:29 PM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
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    You just flunked basic logic. Arguments are to be supported or debunked based on their own merits, not on whether predictions in the past were correct or not.

     

    And by the way, you forgot the predictions about resource scarcity which were vindicated, including Hubbert's forecast of US oil production peaking in the early 70s and then going into irrevocable decline.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:32 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
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    AIP:

     

    Coincident, but not coincidentally, with the rise with environmental extremism.

     

    P.S. Production has absolutely nothing to do with available reserves. It seems that it is your logic that has failed.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:36 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4025) | Send Message
     
    Let me distance my opinion as to why commodities are not in short supply from Tack's political posturing....

     

    The fact is that basic commodities and resource allocation is simple supply and demand, and if demand drives prices up behaviors will change.

     

    Grantham argues that commodities are inevitably going to get more and more expensive from here out. They can't go down, there are too many people, too few resources, blah blah blah. I think we've all taken a ride on that roller coaster and know where it ends up.
    25 Apr 2011, 09:01 PM Reply Like
  • Spencer Knight
    , contributor
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    I pose this question in terms of the oil production peaking in the early 70s. What if the U.S. finds a massive oil reserve that is currently unknown, that is also easily extractable? The obvious answer is that the theoretical oil reserve would prove Hubbert wrong, but I wonder what others think about that idea? In terms of whether or not we should continue drilling or defer to other methods of energy.
    This may get a bit off topic but I'm curious as to what others think.
    25 Apr 2011, 09:03 PM Reply Like
  • EMS
    , contributor
    Comments (572) | Send Message
     
    If technology can keep up, you cannot ever run out of food, water, fuel, etc.. Think about it- we can probably get a heck of a lot of fresh air, water, fuel thru good technology, and get any Rare earth metals or whatever we need from a planet nearby. We (our grandkids) may or may not get there, it will be a race w 8 +++ billion mouths to feed.....
    25 Apr 2011, 09:13 PM Reply Like
  • Jackson999
    , contributor
    Comments (468) | Send Message
     
    What if we put up satellites in Earth orbit to beam down the energy of the sun? Then we no longer need oil or worry about how much more is left.

     

    We will be doing this within the next 50 years(assuming we haven't blown our civilization back to the stone age).
    25 Apr 2011, 09:19 PM Reply Like
  • Ricard
    , contributor
    Comments (3829) | Send Message
     
    Tack,

     

    I think the key point is that most of this growth (food, standard of living, anything, everything) has been based upon the discovery and usage of a finite, non-renewable resource, hydrocarbons. Sooner or later, we will reach the limit of feasible hydrocarbon extraction, and when we hit that limit, things will get rather difficult. It is also telling that regardless of future discoveries, our hydrocarbon consumption has exponentially increased since discovery of oil-as-energy...this can't continue, else we will be annually consuming oil that has the equivalent mass of the entire world...an impossibility.

     

    My understanding of Malthus is that he dealt with renewable resources getting abused, like food, groundwater or lumber stocks that dry up and cause a shock in the system with all kinds of unintended consequences. Hydrocarbons are just not in this league - regardless of if we ration our usage, the hydrocarbons we use aren't coming back any time soon. Once they are gone, they are gone. We may discover more, but there are limits to the discovery. If we continue to be dependent upon non-renewable resources to fuel our growth, then we are no longer talking about Malthus. We're just talking about a car out of gas.
    25 Apr 2011, 09:51 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
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    Ricard:

     

    It's not vital that hydrocarbons or anything else last forever. I just used the facts about current oil reserves as an example to debunk manufactured alarmism. As the cost of one resource becomes more expensive, it will be replaced with new technologies and developments, just as automobiles replaced defecating horses.

     

    As for energy generally, even without some massive breakthrough in solar or a new unknown technology, nuclear energy could supply energy for more generations that anybody might care to count, provided we utilize it in stead of politicizing it.

     

    The main point is that alarmist claims that the world is ending or resources will is just erroneous, at best, and fearmongering, at worst.
    25 Apr 2011, 10:32 PM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
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    The scuttlebutt in the Gulf Coast was that the Macondo Well was the motherload. Most of that oil is still there. Offshore Alaska is just waiting to yield its riches. There is still plenty of oil, but plenty of "environmentalists" as well.
    25 Apr 2011, 10:48 PM Reply Like
  • Ricard
    , contributor
    Comments (3829) | Send Message
     
    "It's not vital that hydrocarbons or anythig else last forever."

     

    Actually, I think this is the crux of the argument. Malthus dealt with renewables, advocating measured approaches to consumption instead of slash-and-burn techniques. With measured approaches, renewables like water, food, and lumber could conceivably last forever. However, for oil, regardless of what you do, the oil ain't coming back.

     

    We're accustomed to paradigm shifts and new levels of standard of living, but it's certainly conceivable that much of the progress has been due to our use of a finite resource. It's conceivable that we've been living on borrowed time since the discovery of oil.

     

    I have to point out that a horse is a renewable resource. :O
    25 Apr 2011, 10:50 PM Reply Like
  • Ricard
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    "P.S. Production has absolutely nothing to do with available reserves. It seems that it is your logic that has failed."

     

    The logic here is that production peaked in the 70s, and then entered a decline that has yet to reverse...this despite record oil prices in the past several years. In this sense, the theory goes, we are still pumping oil as fast as we can, but since the wells are drying up, the pump simply isn't catching as much oil as it used to.

     

    If the reserves were there, so the theory goes, then given that prices have shot up to record highs, oil production should be increasing. Instead, it is still decreasing...implying that the reserves simply aren't there, and we have to resort to more exotic sources of oil, like tar sands and etc.

     

    The oil majors have been reporting steadily increasing costs of procurement. I'm not entirely convinced of 'peak oil', but market conditions do corroborate the thesis.
    25 Apr 2011, 11:38 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
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    Ricard:

     

    The reserves keep increasing relative to the amount of production because the political impediments to drilling and refining keep escalating, which is keeping the rates of actual production far below the discovery of oil reserves. Equally, this phenomenon explains the constantly added costs of production, since easy to reach land-based or shallow-coastal oil areas are ruled off limits.

     

    This is 100% a politically-imposed problem.
    26 Apr 2011, 12:39 AM Reply Like
  • Ricard
    , contributor
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    Can you source something that goes into this? Qualitatively speaking, your argument has merit...not familiar with it quantitatively.
    26 Apr 2011, 12:42 AM Reply Like
  • Tack
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    Here's just one chart showing reserves increasing, notwithstanding whatever production may be doing:

     

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
    26 Apr 2011, 12:54 AM Reply Like
  • Ricard
    , contributor
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    Ah...US specific, if possible - after all, your point was about political regulation in the US stifling production. Also, the peak-oil arguments that date the peak to 1970 all use US-specific data. I saw something by Chris Matheson (sic?) that said that peak oil for the middle east may be somewhere in the last decade. Matheson said something about timing discovery to peak at around 40 years. The point was to emphasize the finite nature of oil, and hydrocarbons in general.

     

    Since we're on wikipedia, here's a chart for the US demonstrating peak oil:

     

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

     

    Here's a chart on carbon emissions which, while demonstrating exponential consumption, would also corroborate your political cynicism:

     

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

     

    Here's another chart demonstrating that 3 billion people (in Asia) use as much oil as 300 million people in the US, and that this 1:10 ratio is rapidly reaching parity (i.e., exponential consumption may become hyperbolic in the near future - also keep in mind that auto manufacturing is just BEGINNING to take off in China, to say nothing about India) :

     

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

     

    Oops, it was Martenson, here's a summary clip:

     

    www.youtube.com/watch?...
    26 Apr 2011, 01:06 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Lots of peaker kids out tonight, eh Tack?

     

    Besides a half point in Alaska, 99.5% of the rest of the state is for ... I'm not sure again? And no, don't talk about the Dakotas. Nothing to see there either.

     

    But keep poking the stick into the peaker's faces, T. They're fun to watch. Like a hornet's nest. A snotty, little group of pro-luddite defeatists. Keep it up.
    26 Apr 2011, 03:03 AM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
    , contributor
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    Unlikely. Most of the world's giant oil fields are decline:
    www.tsl.uu.se/uhdsg/Pe...

     

    You're confusing right wing ideology with logic. .
    26 Apr 2011, 05:08 AM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
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    You're correct that market economies provide incentives to both buyers and sellers of basic commodities that help ensure production and efficient allocation.

     

    But I know economic theory very well and there is nothing in economics which says the production of raw commodities will in the long run always keep prices low.

     

    Simply put, the market cannot guarantee low prices or guarantee that prices will not rise over the long term.
    26 Apr 2011, 05:12 AM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
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    First of all, oil reserves are estimates, not numbers given to Moses during his private interview with God.

     

    The OPEC oil reserve estimates are not incredible given the huge increase during the 1980s in the absence of major oil discoveries.

     

    In fact, the political nature of OPEC oil reserve estimates is quite obvious given their reserve estimates never fall whereas estimated oil reserves have tanked in Mexico, the United States, Great Britian (North Sea) and Norway.

     

    In countries where oil reserve estimates are accountable to accounting standards behave dramatically different from countries where there are no accounting standards or independent financial authorities.
    26 Apr 2011, 05:16 AM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
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    No one really belives those reserve estimates. Take a look at Saudi Arabia's oil reserves. They remained virtually constant over the last 30 years despite producting 60 billion barrels of oil. Not credible.
    26 Apr 2011, 05:18 AM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
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    Too expensive.
    26 Apr 2011, 05:18 AM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
    , contributor
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    That is right wing rubbish. Alaska's oil production decline reflects the decline of Prudhoe Bay.

     

    And Prudhoe Bay coming online in the early 80s did not reverse declining US oil production.
    26 Apr 2011, 05:20 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
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    Hey peaker kids, the EPA just stopped Royal Dutch Shell from drilling in Alaska that RDS HAD ALREADY spent $4 billion on developing. It would have put an additional 26 billion barrels online. Stopped it, shut it down, kaput.

     

    Tell me, peaker kids, how's them apples?
    26 Apr 2011, 03:13 PM Reply Like
  • Joe Morgan
    , contributor
    Comments (1500) | Send Message
     
    Tack, we are not running out of oil per se...but say goodbye to cheap oil....

     

    See cantarel field, check how SA production capacity hasn't increased despite the highest nominal prices ever...then you have OPEC fairy estimates...and boy you have perfect recipients for higher prices...

     

    Global Demand keeps unabated, despite higher oil prices, and as you and I know, the global recovery is strong...this only means elevated oil prices including the majority of commodities...

     

    Tack, you know the global recovery is real....and as long GDP keeps increasing, I can't see oil below $90....
    26 Apr 2011, 05:54 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
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    Yes, Joe, but the theme was that we're running out of resources, which is nonsense, but grasped feverishly by the usual doomers. In fact, as prices increase we'll use various things less rapidly and/or find alternatives to employ. That's the beauty of capitalism and free markets, both of which the fearful and ignorant wish to destroy.
    26 Apr 2011, 06:00 PM Reply Like
  • Joe Morgan
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    Agree with you on the doomers part...they are the same people that missed and continue to miss the rally on equities....
    26 Apr 2011, 06:06 PM Reply Like
  • radicall
    , contributor
    Comments (534) | Send Message
     
    even if US production rises - it really can't affect the global supply too much, given that we have an insignificant amount of reserves compared to the global reserves (2.5%)

     

    Only difference US based production will change is the trade deficit which is heavily weighted with oil and make the dollar a bit stronger.

     

    Even if oil goes away US has enough Nat gas to run cars for at least another 100 years (given that people convert to nat gas)
    11 May 2011, 06:42 PM Reply Like
  • Hendershott
    , contributor
    Comments (1543) | Send Message
     
    50,000 BPD is indeed the moherlode.
    11 May 2011, 06:54 PM Reply Like
  • User 1797
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    the inflation adjusted oil price peaked in 1864...look it up
    21 Aug 2012, 03:40 PM Reply Like
  • Wildebeest
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    Totally flawed premise. Commodity prices were high, i.e. at similar levels to now, for the first 70 years of last century then fell (ex-oil). Why did they fall? Many reasons but there wasn't the great industrializations going on after the 70s until China stepped up in the late 90s and guess what, commodity prices began rising again to pre-70s levels.

     

    All explained here:

     

    www.rba.gov.au/publica...

     

    That is not to say there will not be shortages *one day* but his analysis in this case is flawed.
    25 Apr 2011, 06:48 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Bro just watched Avatar and gots the smart.

     

    Heeez a geeenyus.
    25 Apr 2011, 06:52 PM Reply Like
  • Peregrinus
    , contributor
    Comments (124) | Send Message
     
    There were those who warned that the American colonies were doomed in the 1760's because of a shortage of firewood. All the trees around Boston, New York, and Philadelphia had been cut down. People shivered through one long winter after another. Same thing in the 1850's when there was no whale oil to be had. You had to read by candle light and stumble around in the dark. Other examples abound and in every case shortages provided a stimulus for technological advance and economic growth.
    25 Apr 2011, 07:09 PM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1842) | Send Message
     
    Much like Harry Houdini, who was endlessly creative in escaping from one confinement after another.

     

    But then one day there was a circumstance that was not within his control (a man punched him in the stomach by surprise) and Houdini died.

     

    I would not be so sure that, as oil becomes more and more difficult and expensive to extract, we will suddenly discover a magically cheaper and better source of energy.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:37 PM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
    Comments (4012) | Send Message
     
    Every wise, just, and mild government, by rendering the condition of its subjects easy and secure, will always abound most in people, as well as in commodities and riches.
    -David Hume
    25 Apr 2011, 07:21 PM Reply Like
  • Angel Martin
    , contributor
    Comments (1306) | Send Message
     
    Mr Grantham needs to reread some of his own stuff. His investment strategy is based on mean reversion and reversion to trend, yet his commodity call assumes a permanent break with what he admits is a 100 year trend of real commodity price declines.

     

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

     

    Grantham is also supposedly an expert in identifying bubbles...
    25 Apr 2011, 07:25 PM Reply Like
  • Spencer Knight
    , contributor
    Comments (367) | Send Message
     
    People like Mr Granthem need to relax since commodities sometimes fluctuate based on what are essentially "guestimates" at the present time. Years ago we did not need as much raw materials as we do right now. So less people focused on that market and gravitated to other jobs that paid more. Now that prices are going up and hitting all time highs we will see entrepreneurs buying up land to produce there valuable goods. Eventually we will see a huge influx of these goods then some people will ask "why are people producing so much?"
    25 Apr 2011, 07:41 PM Reply Like
  • dividend_growth
    , contributor
    Comments (2888) | Send Message
     
    The key is to develop technologies that can harvest more and more resources. Humans are only doomed if we stand still.

     

    Peak oil already happend once in mid 19th century when whales were almost hunted down to extinction.

     

    We are currently less than half way through conventional petroleum reserves, oil sands, ultra-deep water oil reserves remain barely untouched. Sure it would take more effort to get those out, but so do potential alternatives line up at door step: NG, EV, biofuel, solar, wind, efficiency measures, railroad, mass transit, mass telecommute....

     

    As long as we have the will and means to change, I fail to see why we are doomed.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:04 PM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1842) | Send Message
     
    All of the energy alternatives are more difficult and expensive.

     

    It's not that we're running out of energy. But there is no way around it: energy will become more and more expensive.

     

    And it takes energy to produce all other commodities such as food, cotton and metals.

     

    We won't suddenly all die and freeze to death in the dark. But our standard of living is destined to decline as everything we need and want in life becomes that much more difficult to procure.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:41 PM Reply Like
  • fxmaven
    , contributor
    Comments (1455) | Send Message
     
    considering nothing has changed significantly in 100 years since the invention of the automobile, i don't share your optimism.

     

    America and mass transit?? are you joking ?? It's still cheaper to drive than take the shitty AMTRAK, even btwn Bos/NY/Phila/Charm City(B'more)/DC.

     

    When I start seeing CNG vehicles like in Thailand or Burma in USA, then I will be amazed.

     

    Hope you are right, but I don't see alot changing, just the usual endless election related scripted talk show BS.
    26 Apr 2011, 01:36 AM Reply Like
  • The Patriot
    , contributor
    Comments (323) | Send Message
     
    We now have 6.8 billion people and growing by +-80 million/day !!!!
    Our resources have never had this much demand. Add in regulation,environmental concerns, and the loss of low hanging fruit.
    Its a dirty business and few welcome it in their back yards. The cost will go higher because fewer and fewer are willing to put up with low and inconsistent returns.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:11 PM Reply Like
  • J 457
    , contributor
    Comments (951) | Send Message
     
    80mm a day? Ehh, this is more serious than I thought. No, really, the population growth rate is not nearly that high. Many developed countries, such as USA, Japan, Europe, are declining populations. Its India, China, Africa that are growing, but they too will reach a maximum and eventually the world population will start to fall as countries become more developed and family size is smaller.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:20 PM Reply Like
  • dividend_growth
    , contributor
    Comments (2888) | Send Message
     
    China is now growing at a lower rate than US.

     

    Although the global population may still grow to 9 billion within the next 50 years, the rate of increase will be nowhere near the pace of the 50 years after 1950.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:49 PM Reply Like
  • The Patriot
    , contributor
    Comments (323) | Send Message
     
    Ooops, I stand corrected, +- 80 million/yr

     

    Globally, the growth rate of the human population has been declining since peaking in 1962 and 1963 at 2.20% per annum. In 2009, the estimated annual growth rate was 1.1%.[3] The CIA World Factbook gives the world annual birthrate, mortality rate, and growth rate as 1.915%, 0.812%, and 1.092% respectively[4] The last one hundred years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity[5] made possible by the Green Revolution.[6][7][8]

     

    The actual annual growth in the number of humans fell from its peak of 88.0 million in 1989, to a low of 73.9 million in 2003, after which it rose again to 75.2 million in 2006. Since then, annual growth has declined. In 2009, the human population increased by 74.6 million, and it is projected to fall steadily to about 41 million per annum in 2050, at which time the population will have increased to about 9.2 billion
    25 Apr 2011, 10:18 PM Reply Like
  • neutrinoman
    , contributor
    Comments (700) | Send Message
     
    Channeling the 70s, this time without the bell bottoms and platform shoes -- time to sell:

     

    www.kitco.com/ind/nadl...

     

    Be sure to subtract out inflation as well.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:19 PM Reply Like
  • J 457
    , contributor
    Comments (951) | Send Message
     
    Wait until Wednesday. Fed buying bonds beyond June is "all-in" for silver/gold. But any hint of interest rate increases or fiscal tightening and the bottom will fall out. They will mop up the excess $$, it's just a question of when and how far they want the dollar to drop. I pity those that think they will time the sell-off. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, and many will get decimated when the sell-off begins. Personally, I think it will look like the flash crash of last May, but over 2-3 days.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:29 PM Reply Like
  • Vuke
    , contributor
    Comments (1645) | Send Message
     
    That hired hack, Nadler, has been forecasting commodity collapses for the last decade. Some day he will get some thing, at least partially, right.

     

    The principal reasons behind the last few years rise are:

     

    1/ A long period of neglect of the exploration and development process with the associated requirement of developing deeper and/or lower grade material.

     

    2/ A huge increase in a world population willing and able to purchase products based on commodities.

     

    3/ The fact that governments, from east to west, north to south, are printing currency, each for its own reason.

     

    In sum, the value of all currencies is plunging, thus creating an illusion of greatly over heated commodity prices. Factor out real currency debasement and commodities can be seen as normally priced in a period of demand after a two decade period of contemptuous neglect.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:50 PM Reply Like
  • Ohrama
    , contributor
    Comments (513) | Send Message
     
    I think he makes good points. Read again for example: "Rapid growth is not ours by divine right; it is not even mathematically possible over a sustained period." Simply (1 + x/100) ^ n goes to infinity as n becomes very large if x remains positive always. In fact, Greenspan (and later Bernanke) tried to disprove it (saying the market has to always keep going up to keep our spending orgy going and when it does not, the Fed will make sure it will go up) and failed miserably.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:30 PM Reply Like
  • SSALarry
    , contributor
    Comments (235) | Send Message
     
    Kind of a nothing article, he only stated we are running out of commodities (I disagree) and then says we have to adjust our investment thesis, but gives no details.
    25 Apr 2011, 08:38 PM Reply Like
  • tarheeljim
    , contributor
    Comments (17) | Send Message
     
    1. I hate giving this guy superstar status, as he focuses as much on his political commentary ("it's an indisuptable scientific fact that global warming[/climate change/whatever the latest Al Gore spin crap is] is happening..."). Huh? It is TOTALLY disuptable and has been debunked by many competent scientists.
    2. We are limiting ourselves. By crushing oil exploration in our own back yard, we are closing the door to growth. Political considerations of lizards (Texas) and the EPA and political agendas take precedence over freedom and liberty.
    He has a right to write anything he wants, but for Morningstar and others to give it prominent treatment is sad, and erodes my confidence in their wisdom.
    Jim
    25 Apr 2011, 09:21 PM Reply Like
  • Albert Ling
    , contributor
    Comments (115) | Send Message
     
    Who need steel/aluminium when you have carbon nanotubes?

     

    Who needs oil when you have focus fusion?

     

    Who needs food at all when we have mind upload into silicon?

     

    If you're gonna do like Grantham and play the "paradim shift" card, go all the way into the future and accept that nothing 100 years from now is predictable.

     

    For plays on the future, buy GE, TINY, IBM, INTC, GOOG, DD, etc.. not RIO and XOM.
    25 Apr 2011, 10:16 PM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
    , contributor
    Comments (5504) | Send Message
     
    Get real. Right now the best one can do is maintain a fusion reaction for a fraction of a second and barely produce more energy that is consumed to generate it.

     

    Nuclear power is viable. Let me see you power your home by fusion ...
    26 Apr 2011, 05:24 AM Reply Like
  • Econdoc
    , contributor
    Comments (2944) | Send Message
     
    first of all - do yourselves all a favor and read The Rational Optimist - by Ridley. Read it. It is a great antidote to this sort of stuff.

     

    The only thing in short supply around here is intelligence. Einstein said Imagination is more important than knowledge. The problem with Grantham and others is a failure of imagination. Ofcourse there is no solution that you can see.

     

    The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones.

     

    Yes. All natural resources are finite and yes there limits to production but we are not even close and this will be a topic for the next 10,000 years and beyond. And beyond.

     

    You want to see the future? There is a company in Mass. that is working on membrane technology that will enable seawater t be converted to fresh and a fraction of the cost of desal. You want to look at the future of manufacturing - look at Stratsys. Biodiesel - true synthetic biodiesel is coming. Capacitor technology is coming that will make recharging your car's battery as fast as filling up your tank. Aquaadvantage has a salmon that grows faster and bigger on less food - this is just the beginning. Food production is more limited by political and economic structures than any environmental factors.

     

    And you want to participate in all of this? By a small cap index fund or ETF and hold it. That's it. That's how you play all of this.

     

    The Future is our Friend.

     

    E is Emagination

     

    E
    25 Apr 2011, 10:58 PM Reply Like
  • fxmaven
    , contributor
    Comments (1455) | Send Message
     
    This guy's been watching too much Glenn Beck, methinks.
    26 Apr 2011, 12:52 AM Reply Like
  • fxmaven
    , contributor
    Comments (1455) | Send Message
     
    you can feed your children cancerous frankenfood, and chemically treated water.

     

    i'm sticking with ugandan free range organic chickens and goats, mmmm good.
    26 Apr 2011, 01:01 AM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13280) | Send Message
     
    fx:

     

    Yeah, we're all pining to live in Uganda, but not everybody can be so lucky.

     

    Like I said before, you don't do your credibility any favors with these kinds of nonsensical statements, after making some valid criticisms of U.S. policies in other comments. However, you might have a career in stand-up comedy, now that I come to think of it.
    26 Apr 2011, 01:10 AM Reply Like
  • fxmaven
    , contributor
    Comments (1455) | Send Message
     
    obviously i am not trying to be "credible", like the brillant, moral, ethical and perfect people in charge of Govt and the corporate sector.

     

    just pointing out that simple living works very well, and perhaps it is not a problem of too few resources but simply too much consumption.

     

    and yes, rising resource costs will be a problem, the exploding consumption in asia, middle east, latin america, and africa is obvious. ignore it or put your faith in "pie-in-the-sky" technologies at your own risk.

     

    would be great if true, show me how the world gets off of carbon energy in any practical way in the next 20 years, then i'll believe it.
    26 Apr 2011, 01:26 AM Reply Like
  • fxmaven
    , contributor
    Comments (1455) | Send Message
     
    actually had an offer to go to ivory coast (cote d'ivoire) today.

     

    it's been pretty boring since i was in haiti last year, may go have a look, miss those post conflict/disaster zones. then again, i could always visit flint mi for the same, snow should be melting about now...

     

    then again, i heard the cocoa is quite good as well in cdi, and some lovely beaches...
    26 Apr 2011, 01:30 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Send me a postcard when you get to Tijuana. Then again, don't. Then again.

     

    cote d'ivoire

     

    blah blah blah
    26 Apr 2011, 02:43 AM Reply Like
  • American in Paris
    , contributor
    Comments (5504) | Send Message
     
    Econdoc,

     

    If you really have a background in economics, you damn well that nothing in our blessed economic theory guarantees lower relative prices for natural resources.

     

    Moreover, it is a stretch to think that the 20th century was any thing other than an anomaly.

     

    Why were oil prices low during the 20th century? Simply because that is when most of it was discovered.

     

    You can't expect the future to be repeat of the past. To do so is to leave the realm of economics and subsitute faith for it.
    26 Apr 2011, 05:29 AM Reply Like
  • sungtae
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    The point of his warning was that all of these figures and forecasts about the amount of available resources are meaningless unless they are represented on a PER PERSON basis. (How much clean water, food, oil, etc is available person.) The absolute values are less meaningful than their relative values as the relative numbers are the ones that drive the values for usage and pricing of scarce resources. With population growth continuing these relative numbers MUST shrink on the supply side and grow on the demand side.
    26 Apr 2011, 12:36 AM Reply Like
  • Grubby79
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Uhem......The wave of protests in the Middle East isn't because they've all decided to adopt Jefferson. It's because of rising food, fuel, and commodity prices.....driven by exponential growth in demand pitted against finite resources. Grantham is basically right. The markets will respond with alternatives, conservations, etc...but it won't be enough. What we really need to do is reduce our population, and adopt a new economic model based on growth in quality of life, not quantity of life. We can't continue the Ponzi scheme forever. There's a little thing called the Rule of 72 that even the politicians cannot ignore.
    26 Apr 2011, 12:58 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    We need to start eating each other alive. It is the only way out of this. The carbon emitting monsters must be taken out. Then we can all live with maven in Uganda, eating organic feces.
    26 Apr 2011, 02:39 AM Reply Like
  • kimboslice
    , contributor
    Comments (1495) | Send Message
     
    Sometimes people like Grantham are correct. The question is what does it matter? Capital investments will tend to grow and beget wealth for the investor. The markets for anything are not always efficient and do not always perform "logically" because of the power of politicians. I don't care if they need to make the future iPads from hemp mixed with algae, they'll make them and people will buy them, and I'll make money because I bought AAPL. Grantham makes himself look silly mentioning "climate change" all of the time. It's nonsense, and actually, if it were warmer, vast areas of Canada and Russia could grow grain, which would be good.
    26 Apr 2011, 04:34 AM Reply Like
  • kimboslice
    , contributor
    Comments (1495) | Send Message
     
    Politicians could decide tomorrow that we can get the oil and gas off Florida, California, and in Alaska. Politicians could decide tomorrow that we will build nukes and have unlimited energy in the USA. The present nonsense is a political phenomenon, which is not based on a geological reality known to Mr. Grantham. Food prices are going up partly because of Corn food being turned into car ethanol, and Mr. Bernake creating inflation which the USA has exported. The food riots that are called revolutions in N. Africa are the unintended consequences of political decisions, not food shortages.
    26 Apr 2011, 04:41 AM Reply Like
  • lower98th
    , contributor
    Comments (1420) | Send Message
     
    Human depopulation: the ultimate solution.
    26 Apr 2011, 07:07 AM Reply Like
  • Angel Martin
    , contributor
    Comments (1306) | Send Message
     
    you go first...
    26 Apr 2011, 07:58 AM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13280) | Send Message
     
    Angel:

     

    You nailed it. All these whining, pessimistic believers in unavoidable cataclysm (right around the corner, too, you know) can solve two pressing problems at the same time -- eliminating their own depression and reducing their "carbon footprint" (what nonsensical politically-correct horse manure)-- by doing the noble thing for the planet and leaving now.
    26 Apr 2011, 08:12 AM Reply Like
  • kaitse
    , contributor
    Comments (9) | Send Message
     
    Do I hear Logan's Run?
    26 Apr 2011, 06:16 PM Reply Like
  • kimboslice
    , contributor
    Comments (1495) | Send Message
     
    It's easy to believe we are "running out" of something if you begin with that premise. We are not however running out of anything, with the possible exception of 1. arable land 2. fresh water
    Hydrocarbons? Not likely in our lifetimes will they run out. There are known 285 Trillion cubic feet of gas under the USA. That's a T. There are also methane hydrates in mindboggling amounts but they are in the deep sea and no one has any idea how to go get it. There is a lot of uranium in the ground, so nuclear is always an option. Keep your fingers crossed and hope for global warming, they can then farm vast areas of Canada and Siberia, so grains will be cheaper.
    21 May 2011, 01:27 PM Reply Like
  • inthemoney
    , contributor
    Comments (981) | Send Message
     
    > Keep your fingers crossed and hope for global warming, they can then farm vast areas of Canada and Siberia, so grains will be cheaper.

     

    So far the climate change made winters colder and summers hotter thus decreasing the arable land, not the other way around.
    21 May 2011, 05:49 PM Reply Like
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