The No Breakfast Fallacy
Jeremy Grantham claims that we’re about to run out of the minerals vital for fertilisers: his argument fails over the time value of money. Something you would expect a financier as successful as he is to understand but apparently not.
1. IntroductionThe scene is an early morning current affairs radio show. Very important people talk to the nation here. Evan Humphries (for it is he): “Mr. Worstall, why is it that your new report shows that soon all will be dead?”Worstall: “Evan, it’s 7 am. Currently there is food in the fridges of the nation for breakfast. But in two hours time that will be eaten, gone, there will be no more. Therefore everyone will die because NO BREAKFAST.” Sorry, might I just rerecord that?Worstall: “Evan, mineral reserves are disappearing at an alarming rate. Official figures show that within 30 years most of them will be used up and there are no more reserves. Industrial civilisation will crash, billions die, because NO MINERALS.”It’s true that there are many people who insist that we are just about to run out of everything that makes industrial civilisation possible. But as this book walks through their arguments we find that they’ve simply misunderstood the numbers that they use to discuss matters. Those misunderstandings coming in different grades of silliness, of course. In one chapter we look at some claims made in New Scientist and find that they have entirely and completely misunderstood what a mineral reserve is or means.The-No-Breakfast-Fallacy-ONLINE