The Age of Chicken Little
We write from the apex of “the age of Chicken Little.” As dubbed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inventor Kary Mullis, this is the epoch when scientists become as tendentious and litigious as lawyers, and college science courses teach kids how to stop things rather than how to start them.
A truth teller among panic sellers, Mullis named the era and nailed it, and provided the enabling tool of biotech. He died last year of pneumonia at age 74 without any help from the coronavirus. But efforts to find a vaccine against it all depend on help from Mullis’ invention.
As recounted with relish in his autobiography, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, he had an uproarious life of sex, drugs, rock ’n roll, and hard work, capped with the 1993 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
In an earlier prophecy, I wrote about Kary and his contrarian views on climate, ozone layers, and consensus science in general. Today I introduce Chicken Little himself, consensus science Professor Jared Diamond of UCLA and your Amazon best seller list, with books with names like Collapse and now Upheaval. You can read his thoughts here.
On the boards of the World Wildlife foundation and other eco-panic groups, he intimidates fellow board members from oil companies with his climate disaster and resource depletion chimeras. Hey, in his new book, he is giving us 30 years ‘till doomsday, almost threefold more time than Greta Thunberg does.
Diamond is a prophet of the “sustainablility” obsessions of campuses around the globe. Supposedly, this time, at long last, pandemic scarcity and exhaustion is real.
We have had prophecies of resources running out ever since Pastor Malthus back in 1798 wrote that food production was futile because it led to population explosions and mass famine. In the decades after Paul Erhlich’s super bestselling The Population Bomb of 1968, academic doomsday men have depicted populations exploding like nuclear weapons. In the fallout, everyone dies.
This determinist economic theory was never much fun. Malthusianism caused people to dub economics the “dismal science.” They had not encountered yet the dismal potential of Diamond’s determinist geography.
Refuted by Time-Price Theory
Diamond is bringing out his new Upheaval totally unaware that its premises have all been refuted by the findings of Gale Pooley and Marian Tupy, pioneers of time-prices. Time-price measures abundance and scarcity by the number of hours workers have to labor to earn the money to purchase the concerned commodities.
In one simple number of hours and minutes, they capture the fruits of innovation otherwise calculated in complex series of declining costs and rising wages adjusted by diverse estimates of inflation and purchasing power parity. You can read about them in many of my other prophecies.
Pooley and Tupy show that the more population the more abundance. Since 1980, while world population grew 71%, the abundance of the 50 key commodities for human life has grown 518%, while their time prices dropped 72%.
Contrary to Jared Diamond’s sustainability fears and Upheaval horrors, population sustains itself. Humans are not merely mouths, they are minds. The more people, the better, as long as they are not locked up.
Takeaway: When human creativity is unlocked, we will see an amazing “upheaval” of growth and progress. Investors be vigilant.
Editor, Gilder’s Daily Prophecy