Interesting piece in Yahoo this morning. It says that researches from MIT project that the world will run out of resources by 2030. You can read the article here.
A new study from researchers at Jay W. Forrester's institute at MIT says that the world could suffer from "global economic collapse" and "precipitous population decline" if people continue to consume the world's resources at the current pace.
I'm not an MIT graduate and I don't play one on TV. So I probably can't match credentials with the MIT folks. But, I do think I have something that they've neglected to factor into their research: common sense.
To make their prediction they need to forecast both the growth of population and the growth of available resources. And, I believe that's where their analysis breaks down. Here's why. There's no way to forecast what new technologies will do to the amount of resources available in the future.
Consider these examples from the past. 150 years ago people thought that population would outpace the ability of farmers to produce food. Ofcourse that was before the combine, tractors, modern ag schools, hydroponics and a whole host of other tools that have multiplied the food supply many times over.
Or what's happening to the energy market today. Just in the last few years we've discovered that we have much, much more recoverable natural gas than we thought we had. And, if some researchers are correct, the same may be true for crude oil. We've only begun to explore solar and other renewables. Not to mention nuclear power which didn't exist 50 years ago.
If that's not enough to convince you that we can't predict what man's ingenuity will make available for us, consider the computer/tablet/cell phone that you're using to read this on. 20 years ago none of that was possible. But it was and it has made many human endeavors much more productive. And, we've only scratched the surface. The personal computer is only 20 years old. Think of where the automobile was in 1920 compared to today. What might we be doing with computers (and their offspring) 80 years from now?
So while I'm sure the researchers at MIT meant well and used all the right math and algorithms, I think that they forgot a very important element. Man's ability to put his mind to solving problems. So to that extent, we should thank them for helping to spotlight the problem and then root for those who will discover ways to solve them.
Keep on Stretching those Dollars!