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The Looming Dislocation Risks Posed by Resource Scarcity

Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 11:45 AM
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Executive Summary

  • Why many entrepreneurial ventures addressing resource scarcity have less time than they imagine
  • Why understanding the unintuitive economics created by resource scarcity is key
  • Copper is serving as a case study in how peak supply is putting upward pressure on world prices
  • The approaching "dead end" for millionaries
  • Why physical networks will trump the importance of digital ones in tomorrow's economy

Part I: 'Cornucopians in Space' Deliver a Dangerously Misguided Message

If you have not yet read Part I, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Part II: The Looming Dislocation Risks Posed by Resource Scarcity

One of the most stunning and repeated patterns seen in the 2000-2010 timeframe is that, right as many natural resources experienced phase transition to much higher prices, the production rate of those resources either slowed, stalled out, or in some cases fell.

This is the real reason, in my opinion, why so many writers and thinkers are grappling with the problem of creating future wealth and obtaining (or recapturing, if you will) the kind of abundance we once enjoyed.

It’s positive, actually, that the news story about mineral mining in space has been so popular and covered in just about every major newspaper, because it unintentionally articulates the very long timeline to the solution of resource scarcity now facing human economies. To Peter Thiel’s point, therefore, it would be better to solve our problems in ways that actually serve humanity on relevant timescales, than to delude ourselves into thinking that miracles are just around the corner.

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