I am in the middle of reading the many books published in the mid 2000s about the growth of China. My rationale is simple: if you want to know how credible the soothsaying of pundits is on a subject it is worth going back a decade. The ability to predict the future rarely improves.
So, right now I’m reading Will Hutton’s “The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century“.
Here are a couple of excerpts.
On peak oil:
The peak of world oil production is clearly imminent. According to estimates it is already on us; if it is not, very few expect the peak much after 2020. [my italics]
On running out of copper and zinc:
Debate over how soon oil production will peak has become urgent, as has the imminent exhausation of copper and zinc reserves, predicted by industry analysts within fourteen and eleven years respectively.
So, by Hutton’s reckoning – the book was published in 2007 – we should start running out of oil, copper and zinc by the end of the decade.
Peak oil, well, I think concept is dead for a while. Likewise global copper and zinc production have risen by 22 and 33% respectively since Hutton’s book came out. Why do we not read about the imminent exhaustion of our copper and zinc reserves? Has this “imminent” event somehow been postponed?
As always I recommend Dan Gardner’s excellent book Future Babble to all readers.