About predictions of doom and gloom

While Scott Adams uses the principle to predict that the current administration will be held in great esteem, a more serious example is described by Carpe Diem in New Age of Cheap Energy Approaches: A Tribute to the Virtues of Markets, Free Trade and Capitalism. The principle is that human ingenuity and creativity can solve problems if given time.

How come natural gas prices have fallen so much? To understand why, you need to get up to speed on the exciting phenomenon of so-called tight gas. This, after coal, could perhaps be the world’s most prolific energy source. Hitherto, we have relied on conventional deposits of natural gas. But tight gas is locked into difficult rock formations, such as shale, and in the past couple of years the industry has found low-cost ways of fragmenting those rocks in order to get at the gas, particularly in America.

Predicting doom and gloom is a favorite hobby of many and the source idea for many novels. In the latter part of the 20th century, such predicting has taken on a scientific aura with linear extrapolations predicting gloom from excess population or global climate changes or energy depletions. The problem is that using a linear extrapolation where humans are involved is exceedingly simplistic. From the land grant institutions of the 19th century and the resulting boom in agricultural productivity to the integration of electronic devices which has resulted in much lower cost automation and control that, in turn, significantly increases efficiencies of producing nearly everything, linear extrapolation just doesn’t reflect reality.

Petroleum based energy reserves were predicted to dry up by now yet they continue to show increases every decade. Tight gas recovery is but one example of why this is so. Whether one can depend upon social innovation such as Scott Adams predicts remains a question but there is little doubt that technological innovation does have positive impact in solving the needs of humans given time and opportunity.

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