“Interesting Times” Best Times To Own Real, Tangible, Physical Gold
By Chris Sanders
Sunday, 9 December 2012
“Farther from care than danger…”
The title above is a quote from Sir Thomas More’s classic, Utopia, describing a people’s overconfidence in their capacity for navigation given the compass for the first time.
I found the quote used by Stanley Jevons in his 1866 classic of another sort, The Coal Question. Jevons was writing about the physical limits to coal production, and forecasting, with some accuracy, the inevitable consequence of a peak, decline and exhaustion of Britain’s coal reserves.
Jevons, a political economist, was ridiculed at the time, and turned his attention – in his published work at least – to more abstract economic theorization.
Not much has changed since Jevons’s time. Economists, at least of the neoclassical mainstream variety, still don’t like the facts of life in the physical world.
Our navigators, the economists
The alchemy of price supposedly converts real world problems such as the depletion of easy-to-find-and-produce resource reserves, such as oil, or waste disposal and environmental degradation – think Fukushima – to an opportunity. The reasoning goes that for enough money, someone will find an alternative or invent one.
Main stream economists don’t have much time for systems engineers, ecologists or biologists who also analyze these difficult issues.
Over the course of the last hundred years economics has become the compass by which we navigate the shoals of socio-political life, and economists are the navigators.
Judging from the results of the last thirteen years, in which we have watched the world banking system and financial markets collapse, and experienced multiple epic industrial disasters of which the BP Macondo well explosion and the Fukushima triple meltdown are the latest and most horrific, you might think that the navigators would be looking for other employment, but they aren’t and most likely won’t.
The best economic forecast ever wasn’t even a forecast, and it wasn’t the work of economists