Jeremy Grantham must-read, “Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever”

19 thoughts on “Jeremy Grantham must-read, “Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever””

  1. I’m reading FUTURE BABBLE by Dan Gardner. “Why experts are next to worthless and you can do better.”
    In Future Babble, award winning journalist Dan Gardner presents landmark research debunking the whole expert prediction industry and explores our obsession with the future.

    Recommend it to provide some perspective on the drivel above.


    1. I guess your comments here are as accurate as those you have made on climate change and coral reefs. If so, I think people will probably take your comment here with a very large grain of sodium chloride! I guess Grantham has more to his opinion than a lump of salt – try $107 billion!


    2. “Why experts are next to worthless and you can do better”

      Mate, you are delusional. Seems like the Dunning-Kruger effect is in full force here.

      “The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to appreciate their mistakes.[1] The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority.”

      Keep reading those self help books and thinking those experts are worthless.


      1. Wonderful irony in seeing those with no expertise in psychology label another with Dunning Kruger.
        You both should be doing stand up!


      2. It’s amusing watching you criticise others for a lack of “expertise” when “experts are next to worthless and you can do better”! Thanks for the laugh mate, stick to having a whine about what’s on the telly and avoid these delusions of granduer 😉


      1. I agree jcrabb, that would be terrible. But I suspect he would not be able to pay for his expert medical treatment anyway because it is likely that MarcH does not have any medical insurance. After all, if you don’t believe in using careful projections of risk (i.e. if you believe it’s all ‘FUTURE BABBLE’), then you wouldn’t see the point of having medical insurance!


      2. What is absolutely hilarious here is that you failed to pick up on the subtlety of what I was saying. My comment was that it doesn’t matter whether it is mechanics or chiropractics, if you want to get an informed opinion on the subject area you should go to someone who is expert in that area. And, consequently, drawing your understanding of climate change from the pontification of your buddies Bob Carter, Stewart Franks, David Evans and William Kininmonth (who are not expert in climate change and have not had their ideas tested in the peer-reviewed literature) is like going to a mechanic and asking him/her for an opinion on chiropractry (or vice versa). I’m sure you can work out what my opinion is on chiropractic medicine – but it is largely relevant to this particular example!


  2. Looking forward to seeing the outcome of your latest effort (predictions of mass bleaching at Ningaloo with 30% mortality). I haven’t looked yet but I suspect Dan Gardner may have a chapter on your efforts in Future Babble, if not, there’s plenty of material for a new book.

    If you cry wolf constantly I guess you’ll get it right eventually.


    1. All very good Marc – I will store away your message away and hopefully will have an answer for you in three months time. Quick question, what happens if you’re wrong? Do we get to see you eat a hat? Meanwhile, have fun with your pseudoscience and psychobabble!


  3. I started out blogging with the hope of defusing some of the AGW denial by pointing out many of the related issues (mainly growing energy, food water insecurity and ocean acidification) to paint the picture that all roads lead to a low emission future and increasingly cyclic process pathways (here, I think of the UK ALBE Project as a great example). If we do it right, taking Lord Stern’s view, we could also make big steps in improving global equality (we’re probably further from this than we are on addressing climate change).

    Unfortunately deniers are more skilled at their game than I at sticking on target (I learned the hard way that it’s a waste of time entertaining them).

    But I feel we’ll eventually realise ecology has already worked out many of the fundamental principles we must apply and improve upon (for ecology works blindly while we have the unique ability to be far more proactive) in human activity.

    “Why experts are next to worthless and you can do better.” – that reminds me of the main meme behind New Age medicine. Just because medical scientists don’t know everything (if they did, we wouldn’t need researchers) doesn’t give valid reasoning to apply the ‘memory of water’ as a practical treatment option. Just as with any other given scientist or social planner.

    Yesteryear, we listened to our elders because they had lived long enough to know which watering hole contained the crocs. Luckily we’re a little more sophisticated than that nowadays and I can safely say that reasoning, strengthened by scientific methodology, while still imperfect, continues to trump blind personal assumption any day of the week. Experts deserve centre stage to any social debate because of the wealth of understanding they offer. You can be assured it’s of better quality than the advice provided by cocky middle aged English aristocrats, retired meteorologists and various journalists. It’s dangerous devaluing the resource base we have in experts – you end up treating horrible diseases with various roots, incenses and needles…

    I know it’s a trivial point, but I’ve seen the graph above doing the rounds and I can already hear the inevitable criticism of the trend line.


    1. Very true Moth. Reading Paul Gilding’s new book, he predicts (as we have all thought privately) that there will be a last desperate bid by people trying to deny the logic and reality of these trends before commonsense and evidence-based reasoning triumphs. Thank you for the comment.


      1. Always a pleasure – Climate Shift remains one of my most favorite sites.

        I worry the lag period will leave many undesirable issues that could have been otherwise avoided if tackled with more aggressive proactive policies sooner, rather than later.

        Gleeson, in ‘Life Boat Cities’, has left me with the impression that the past 40yrs of neo-liberal markets, increasing unregulated industrial and under-valued consumables has produced at least two generations separation from such commonsense.

        Of course, the baby boomers have done very well – hardest therefore, to let go. But I also feel even the younger generations who are most vocal (and supportive of change) are underneath it susceptible to what Woodside titled in, “It isn’t easy being green” (Nature | Climate Change, April’s edition) as “green fakers” simply due to that separation – ineffectual action.

        I know it’s a little pessimistic to say as much.

        Pushing the potential opportunities in the required paradigm shift must be a powerful tool for assisting social change (and why I like The ABLE Project – ‘Cardboard to Caviar’ for instance turned cardboard-to-landfill linear processing into a cyclic process that creates wealth as every step and removes the need for landfill).


      2. Thank you for the compliment Moth – the ‘baby boomer comfort’ thing is really difficult issue. One of the models that has resonated with me recently is that which describes our current behavior as having to accounts: one is our capital and the other is our active account. The problem is that we are experiencing the impacts of changing the world and rapidly depleting resources, but we still have money in the capital account to borrow from and keep ourselves comfortable. However, as is the writing on the wall, the capital account (called Earth) is rapidly running out. The kicker is that we won’t feel the major effects of this dangerous depletion until the capital account goes to zero. At that point, we will suddenly be aware of the enormous problem of dwindling resources … but will have little place to turn except to rapidly change our behavior. Hopefully, the rumblings that we are getting from the global economy and Earth itself will be heeded in time so that we don’t see some of the extremely bad outcomes that are predicted.


      3. I couldn’t agree more.

        More so, in the developed west we’ve been able to offset increasing resource scarcity on the back of cheap transport costs. Labour and often environmental policies are cheaper/easier to get around in developing communities and so, even while local supply may be gone, local abundance (and often waste) is high.

        In this way it’s a double fold oil price dependence market.

        Sivak and Tsimhonia (2009) gives hint to our attitude, whereby improvement only follows local awareness of scarcity ( ). It seems madness that the process is not ongoing – while even the driver of transport is supplied is not local, current wealth is great enough to overlook such traps.

        Personally, productive urban landscapes and biophilic city design will be our only way to weather the coming storm: we need to think local for global is too energetic.

        I know many are looking at nuclear power to save the day, however from what I’ve seen their general attitude seems akin to business-as-usual, but glowing. Energy is only part of the situation and therefore I can’t help but feel a nuclear future is also a dead-end. Certainly it could play a role, but the paradigm shift is essential.


      4. Fukushima certainly emphasized the unmanageable risks that still lurk no matter where you put nuclear (be that tectonic or terrorist). Good point: “we need to think local for global is too energetic.” This emphasizes the old adage: ‘think global, act local’. The thinking global bit is incredibly important because it sets the context and compass for what and why we pursue local activities. But unless one thinks one is Hercules, most of the solutions and strategies are at this local scale.


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