There and Back Again - The Opening of Cornucopia LLC

Dear readers. Many of you may have wondered about my absence here over the last 6 months or so. Suffice it to say that I've had a sea change of understanding about both our situation and on the opportunities it presents. As such, I’ve made some career change decisions, which Kyle and Gail are allowing me to share with you here (based on my prior efforts at TOD). Starting May 1, I have accepted an offer from Goldman Sachs to become a Managing Partner in a new energy and resource hedge fund where I'll be one of three people responsible for security selection and risk management. Details, and the story of how I came to 'see the light' on resource depletion opportunities are below the fold. Basically I feel like a kid in a candy store.

OK - here it is in a nutshell - though I used to think the main problem with economic theory was that it ignored biology on the demand side and ecology on the supply side, I now see the reality is that neither biology nor ecology has incorporated enough economic theory. Basically, my efforts at falsification of positive economics even down to the day to day micro level have come up wanting. There are more people, more wealth, more stuff and more novelty in the human sphere of influence then ever before. After all humans are separate from and above all others in the animal kingdom and as such adhere to different rules. The physics of money works - Malthus and Odum RIP. My friend George Gilder said it best:

'The United States must overcome the illusion that resources and capital are essentially things which can run out, rather than products of the human will and imagination which in freedom are inexhaustible.' --George Gilder

And here are some quotes from a few other books Ive had the opportunity to read after spending less time on TOD that have had an influence on me:

'The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources-- Robert Solow - Nobel Prize winner in Economics - 'The Economics of Resources or the Resources of Economics.' Journal of Economic Literature 6 11. 1974.

and this book, which everyone at my school used to criticize, but I never had a chance to actually read the air-tight logic throughout the book until last Thanksgiving:

'On average, human beings create more than they use in their lifetimes. It has to be so or we would be an extinct species. This process is, as the physicists say, an invariancy. It applies to all metals, all fuels, all food, all measures of human welfare. It applies in all countries. It applies in all times.' Julian Simon and Norman Myers from "Scarcity or Abundance"? New York Norton. 1994. pp.133-134.

First, let me say that I've learned an amazing amount talking with energy and ecologically minded folk on this site - they (you) are truly a great bunch of people, though in the end, I think a bit misguided about resource depletion prospects. My key 'aha' moment was when I was in a conversation last year with new TOD contributor Art Berman discussing the amount of affordable unconventional natural gas in the US. He has (mostly convincingly) debunked the standard view that there are 100 years of natural gas remaining by hypothesizing that it will be extremely costly to produce. His, (and others) logic is then, that we won't be able to procure this resource because consumers won't be able to afford the $10, $15, $20 etc per mcf needed to pay the energy companies. But guess what - technology is getting better. But much more importantly, even were tech improvements to stagnate, we can print the money to pay for it.

Some other sea changes in my thinking are:

1. The 'decreasing returns to complexity theory' just falls down. a)we aren't Romans or beavers and b)complexity is needed to grow. Ergo growth feeds complexity and vice versa in a virtuous cycle.

2. I used to think reserves were more relevant than resources in oil and gas until I realized that the resource has to be found first!. There is a sequence of events here. Duh.

3. Those that think we are headed for eventual currency reform due to debt overshoot are missing three fundamental truisms: a)more debt satisfies our evolved need for hierarchy, b)of the houses with mortgages in US, in aggregate they are almost at 100% loan to value right now, meaning people NEED more debt. And the zinger: c) new credit/dollars require very few natural resources - some paper (forestry product), ink and machinery, most of which is already built!

4. Those attached to abstractions of the 'trillions of yet unborn humans and other species' (I'm thinking of that moonbat commenter Greenish), and hypothetical damage to the earth via human activity are not grounded in the reality of mortgage and car payments, and vacations.

5. I used to think markets represented liquidity only and not predictors of future earnings stream but I now realize that liquidity creates its own wealth and earnings stream. And we have nearly unlimited liquidity! (I'm embarrassed that I missed this, but sometimes we get tunnel vision)

Even though I now fundamentally believe that resources, at least on the scale of my lifetime are unlimited, that doesn't mean that I've not picked up some valuable things from the contributors here over the years, like cool stuff about phosphorous, algae and cows, and by living modestly during this time, I have reset my brain for a multiplicity of dopamine surges as I ratchet back into conspicuous consumption.

Basically I've spent 5 years learning really interesting stuff, attempting to share knowledge with other civically minded citizens of the world, and with what was in retrospect naive optimism tried to push our cultural metric away from Veblen goods and conspicuous consumption towards something more in balance with future solar flows. What a load of crap. All on a graduate stipend of $21,000 a year. Sure I've had more free time than ever before in my life, met all kinds of interesting people, learned how to grow and store food, and experienced nature at a level never available to those who work 50 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. But screw all that - given the opportunity cost of money think of everything I've missed.

Graphic showing world electricity availability vs GDP, and my minimum acceptable threshold

I've decided that while there are plenty of resources, the distribution of those resources is likely to be increasingly uneven ((which is an opportunity if I ever saw one). I also like hot food, hot tubs and large wattage stereo systems, amongst other gadgetry, particularly if I know other people don't have as much of this stuff. Really, let's be honest, relative wealth is the very best kind since it's the most satisfying. Ive figured out my minimum threshold of personal household kilowatt requirement and a graduate student salary just isn't going to cut it. Irrespective of future electricity per capita, I've basically chosen the 93.5 percentile of electricity usage as 'nates minimum', which is part of the reason I've succumbed to Goldmans advances. And since I'm now aware of the hedonic ratchet, I have a plan for negotiating this level higher (in my contract) by bumping that percentile a bit each year.

Another reason is I want to leave a large nest egg to my progeny. (not for them, actually, but for the way it makes me feel now as I brag about it). Though I currently don't have any children, my new 'aha' that we can print our way out of the limits to growth corner has kickstarted what I refer to as my 'No condoms - No standards' policy. So I'm guessing I will have over a dozen kids due in about 7-8 months. Mom get ready. Moreover, in an homage to the future of globalism I'm "outsourcing" my reproduction to the third world by awarding $500 grants for each genetically verified child conceived with the sperm I've sent to various third-world refrigeration facilities. In that way I intend to finally embrace the the agenda of my genes.

Back to the details of Cornucopia LLC. Here is what I can tell you right now:

Our investment thesis revolves around three core tenets:

1) the obvious fact that the environment falls outside of our market system, and therefore excess wealth derived from processing and packaging it, at least for those who have the balls to take it, is basically free.

1b) And God wants us to. (see Genesis 9, verses 1-2)

2) That growth and subsequent profits depends only in very small part on energy, but are primarily based on information, skill and human ambition. That human cleverness is the ultimate resource, requiring nothing but vacuum and time to create (almost) all conceivable value; and that matter and energy will always fall into line if we think about them cleverly enough. Since energy is a human concept, how can it be more fundamental than we are? This finally became clear to me.

3) The generation of financial capital (money) ushers in abundant social, human, natural and social capital as byproducts, but only to the ones near the source. Entropy does exist, just not in energy as I thought. As money is printed, you have to be close to its genesis to reap outsized rewards as the benefits it confers get watered down by the time it trickles into the economy at large.

As such my main trading strategy will be as follows:

A)Sell short energy stocks, especially the low cost producers.
B) Buy companies that use a lot of energy to both produce and transport their products (preferably consumer discretionary - the maximum power principle shows that they will have the advantage, of course)
C)Loan out our vault gold and silver and use the proceeds to buy Japanese Yen and Pound Sterling at 1% haircut.
D)Whenever possible, increase our gearing ratio.

Though this isn't really public yet, my (new) colleagues were fortunate to hook me up with not only with great lawyers but great administrative/marketing people as well. We are going to securitize the future profits of Cornucopia LLC. Basically it will work like this. Given the background and expertise of everyone involved, on a ProForma basis we expect to make around 50% net in profits per year on an initial seed of $100 million. If we discount that income/trading stream back to the present, the net present value of our fund is about $500 million - we are offering people shares of this $500 million entity at a 20% discount! (total of $400 million). If you do the math, we those of on the inside are going to do very well. Hey, life is about reallocating resources away from others and the future towards oneself in the present- if you can't beat em join em!

As a bone to you resource junkies, I am no water expert, but those of you crying wolf over looming water shortages might want to look at this image:

Here's one little tidbit from our research team I can share with you. I've discovered that (over) 70% of our planets surface is water (H2O). Apparently it isn't called the Blue Planet for no reason. I think those fretting over shale gas fraccing fluids water issues and large irrigation requirements for biofuels and solar thermal really should do more homework. (We're currently looking for a way to short water (using leverage) for the fund as well).

In conclusion, someone once said ‘All the good things in life are free’. I think this is only partially true. A better statement would be ‘ the good things in life are free, but the great things cost money’. And, given my understanding of neural habituation to unexpected reward, one can't easily stop at ‘great’, and ‘greater’ -moving higher on this ladder will certainly require more funds. As for the rest of you who remain unconvinced, best of luck growing those tomatoes in humanure and roping goats in the suburbs. I'll think about you often. That's what relative wealth is all about.

It's good to be back...

Nate Hagens
Managing Partner
Cornucopia LL

Bravo! Truly an impressive article ;)

Nate forgot to mention Corn farming in the US was to be banned so land could be turned over to Hopium farming. It a well known fact that the Hopium around the world is genetically modified by the large pharma company PolyticsLite to meet consumer needs for each and every country.
Some have said that the senior management of the PolyticsLite company couldn't find their own backside with both hands and a map. I don't believe this to be the case, in the UK the 3 main pharma companies of Hopium are just about to issue their manifestos with a full map of a cornucopian future.

Ps I was hoping at least the quotes were true =:-o

The Hopium shortage is well established, but unless they can make a dent in the black-market sarcanol trade I'm afraid they can grow all they want and it won't make an impact.

The hard part was staying in my chair long enough to post.

Not as funny as this, but well executed.

Goldman Sachs? well, good luck working for this evil enterprise.

This just in over the wires.

Goldman Sachs, the company that handed out $16.2 billion in bonus checks to its employees. Has asked all the recipients of said bonuses to return them. The firm also announced it would funnel $51.9 billion out of its pay pool, as a sort of mea culpa, to a charity called Goldman Sachs Gives, set up two years ago to promote "voluntary" giving by the firm's highest-paid partners.

The company spokesman also said that they are confident that their new energy and resource hedge fund headed by Nate Hagens is investing in abiotic oil and will be such a smashing success that this is just chump change compared to what they will be giving out next year.

...beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will...

You had me going until the George Gilder quote...mainly because I just read the Michael Lewis excerpt in Vanity Fair regarding shorting asset-backed securities(, and if you could find a way to short disaster just before total collapse, someone on Wall Street would pay you for it.

A fine april fools day article. Good luck at Goldman's. I especially liked the water part.

You just beat me to by about 5 seconds. Truly a very well done April Fools joke. It was the mention of Julian Simon that set off my alarm bells.

I was half way though the article when I realized, it's April Fools Day.

Man, me too! I have been spending too much time on our farm in France and your first few words really threw me. Nobody, in French tradition, pasted an image of a fish on my back to remind me that yesterday was April fool's day.

Good to see you back Nate. Great spoof!

Truly a very well done April Fools joke. It was the mention of Julian Simon that set off my alarm bells.

Laugh all you want - take that in any way you want, too...: A free-market energy blog — MasterResource

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Julian Simon (1932–98) is an inspiration to those of us here at MasterResource and, indeed, the whole capitalist movement. Indeed, it was he who characterized energy as the master resource and human ingenuity as the ultimate resource.

In honor of Simon, I have reproduced some quotations from his works and invite readers to add their favorite in the comment section.

“The world’s problem is not too many people, but a lack of political and economic freedom.”

Oh, but let's forget all this snide castigation, hugs all around, let's meet halfway and sing Kumbaya:

“Progress toward a more abundant material life does not come like manna from heaven. . . . My message certainly is not one of complacency. In this I agree with the doomsayers: our world needs the best efforts of all humanity to improve our lot.”

Glad you've seen the light Nate, courtesy of ultra cheap coal power electricity which neither degrades the environment nor contributes to global warming, not that this latter exists, and even if it did free market geoengineering solutions would make it a complete non-issue. Have a happy seven billion years, one and all!

Nice troll :-)

Free market geoengineering - now that would be a classic example of market failure if global warming didn't already provide one.

Why would anyone pay for geoengineering to be done ? It would never happen in a free market (though governments may well end up attempting it eventually if we don't get our acts together in the meantime.

I think Julian Simon adjusted that figure to 7 million years, according to Albert Bartlett podcast. AB worked out with exponential growth, even aroud 1% or less and ONLY 7 mill yrs, there aren't enough atoms in the universe to build people. That darn exponential growth thing keeps getting in the way, if I think optomistically enough about it I'm sure I can make it go away.

Damn...and I was just about to ask Nate to float some funds my way for our drilling ops.


It is after all plausible that you need some money since you have been in school long, and I stayed up pretty late last night sampleing last year's new vintage made by a nieghbor from wild blackberries.He has such a passion for his work/hobby that I think maybe he will succeed in a field that looks to be badly over crowded before long.

If I could type with more than one finger I could have been the first to post.

ditto. I forgot it was april fools day until I saw Nate saying "We can print the money" !! Good one.

Yep, that was the line that made me check the date of the article.

LoL, good one April fooled me for at least 2/3 of this essay.

The Russians might give you something to grease the wheels of commerce. The Economist is reporting Peak olive oil!!


Splendid humor. You got cola on my keyboard.


A stunning intellect joins the most influential oil trading organisation in the US.

The market responds by WTI topping $85.

Now who's the fool ?)

Bloomberg - 4/1/2010

Oil's Rebound fortifies towards $85 as Hagens casts away all doubts.

you've sold out!
you've gone to the dark side!

just kidding "good on ya" as the Aussies say

Well Nate knows we are not going to take him seriously, if he publishes his conversion story on April 1. The oil drum regulars would ride Nate out of town on the rail if he abandoned his worship at the shrine of Parson Malthus. There is no mention of Generation IV nuclear technology in Nate's conversion story, and given the carbon problem, we would not be able to maintain human society for hundreds of years on fossil fuels, even if we had the resources to do so. But as that grand corucopian, Alvin Weinberg long ago pointed out that Manhattan Project scientists figured out during World War that the ERoEI for thorium and uranium would be so good, that even if mined at average crustal levels, they would still yield a positive energy return. Thus in the 1950's Weinberg offered to society a route to abundant energy for millions of years to come, burn the rocks in breeder reactors. Well not quite. The energy return from fracking Barnett shale and then performing in situ recovery of uranium would be amazing, far greater than the energy from natural gas recovery. Fracking is a reality, as is low energy in situ uranium mining.

Along with uranium and thorium, huge amounts of minerals which the neo-malthusians insist we are running out of, could be co recovered along with uranium, with little added energy investment. This would include enough phosphate to feed billions of people for millions of years.

Our question then is, who are the real April Fools, the pessimistic worshipers of Parson Malthus, or the happy cornucopians?

"..who are the real April Fools, the pessimistic worshipers of Parson Malthus, or the happy cornucopians?"

All of us, of course!

.. Lord, what fools these mortals be!

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
Horse turds would be biscuits and they'd eat till they died

Hat tip to Matt Simmons

Milgram - "It may be that we are puppets-puppets controlled by the strings of society. But at least we are puppets with perception, with awareness. And perhaps our awareness is the first step to our liberation." (1974)

Dr. Lovelock, said the two environmental problems were inseparable and called on greens to “recognise the truth and speak out” on the link between rising human numbers and global warming.
“Those who fail to see that population growth and climate change are two sides of the same coin are either ignorant or hiding from the truth. These two huge environmental problems are inseparable and to discuss one while ignoring the other is irrational.”

O Thorium, Thorium, wherefore art thou Thorium?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I'll no longer be a Numpty.

sunnata Thorium is coming. The buzz on the Internet has now reached the mainstream media. Watch for stories on Television. Watch for thorium related legislation, a process that has been cooking in congress for a couple of years.

"I have reset my brain for a multiplicity of dopamine surges as I ratchet back into conspicuous consumption."
ROFL. April fools.

An emvironmentalist is someone who shops at REI and Whole Foods, jets off to view wildflowers at a National Par, and while he is walking along the trail dressed in his high teck mountain climbing outfit, complains about the consumerism of people who shop at WalMart.

That's a stereotype. There certainly are people like that. Then there are those that ride bicycles, wear second-hand clothing and eat low on the food chain. It's always difficult to lump people into simple categories. But that doesn't keep us from trying, does it?

Ya but a lot of the bicycle rider are lot worse than the environmentalists. They all look down their noses at people like me. People who suffer from CHF and don't have the stamina to ride a bicycle. I once rode a bike everywhere too. But that was long ago. Now my heart might fail completely on a hot summer day without air conditioning. But you don't care, do you? I would be one less human consumer.

You Neo-Malthusians are cruel, heartless bastards, who are indifferent to suffering you wish on their fellow human beings.

Neither wishing nor indifferent, but that obviously doesn't matter to those suffering.

r4ndom, It bothers me a lot that people here speak of mass human death as if it were an inevitable certainty, which has no more meaning to themm than tying their shoes. when ever someone suggests that a future offers some hope, an mob of Oil Drum malthusian nazies spring into action to denounce the messanger who offers hope. They want civilization to fail. They want millions of people to suffer and die deaths of privation. The is nothing objective about this viewpoint, it is simply malicious. Never, never, never on the Oil Drum is the discussion of the deaths of huge numbers of people addressed with the slightest sensitivity. Never, never, never do people who talk of it her express caring or remorse. This is pathological. It is sick.

it is you neo-Mlthusians who are guilty of the wishful thinking, and you wish nothing less than the deaths of hundreds of million people. The motto of the oil drum is abandon hope all ye who enter and good riddance.

that is painting with a very wide brush if you ask me...(and Im a painter)

Nate, You make fun of optimism. Is it so absurd to hope, to embrace the possibility that the human race does not face the sort of future you envision? You ridicule hope the hope of humanity.

I think it is possible that humanity may find a way to deal with the predicament that it is in. But that is different than simply hoping that we can continue on our current path, that path being business as usual or worse. I don't hope we can continue on that path because I think that path leads towards disaster. Perhaps all paths lead to disaster but there is no sense taking the path that guarantees disaster.

If there is a lifeboat available, I am not going to be the optimist who remains on the ship and hopes for the best.

If your optimism gives you the fortitude to pursue an appropriate response to our predicament, then more power to you. If your optimism merely breeds complacency and the usual party of over consumption, then that optimism should be ridiculed.

tstreet there are two approaches to to the problems that we face. The first is to throw up our hands and say that we are doomed. This would seem to be the Oil Drum neo-Malthusian approach. The second aooroach is to offer plausible options out of our current situation. What I find with the Oil Drum gang, is that as soon as someone points out flaws in their reasoning, or offers a viable technological fix, they look for excuses that will allow them to dismiss the objection. The Oil Drum gang appears to view itself as infallible. They appear to believe that they know everything there is to know about the world's resources, ands about the existing and potential technologies available to exploit those resources.

What I am complaining about is the End of the World mentality which is al to ready to dismiss any argument that we are not facing doom. I am talking about people who do not want answers, and would be deeply disappointed if answers emerged. These are people who don't want hope and have rejected it out of hand.

My view is that the Oil Drum attitude reflects ill will towards one's fellows. A wish to see them suffer and die. The Oil Drum gang rejects solutions, not because the solutions are bad, but because they don't want the problems to be fixed. What I suspect is that the motive for this attitude is a secret delight at the prospective suffering and mass death of most of the people on earth. I think that this is the case, because while mass death is often mentioned on the Oil Drum no one ever talks about feelings about it. I would find such a prospect tremendously sad, and want to do everything possible to prevent is. But I also view the whole perspective as based on a very tainted sort of reasoning, that ignores the fact that our crisis is about the form of energy, not its availability. i have pointed out on the Oli Drum before that there is enough recoverable energy in the form of thorium in the crust of the earth, to provide for human energy needs as long as the earth can sustain life. There is enough recoverable uranium in the crust of the earth, to provide all of our energy needs for a billion years. No one has demonstrated that i am wrong,. I prefer to advocate solutions based on these facts. Empty hopes? i don't think so. The Old Drum gang will never admit it though. That would take their candy away.

. .

I would like to see more Campfire type topics on the Oil Drum - those are the interesting ones; they usually encourage good debate. As far as the neo-malthusians go, I think they will be right, however, the situation is not as dire in the 3rd world, so those people still have a chance (they aren't posting on TOD though) and in North America (among other places), although there is too many of us on the continent, we are not as severely overpopulated as some parts of the world.

I actually agree about the way ANY technology gets jumped on.. but you are calling this 'THE Oil Drum' belief system, and that's really offbase. There are several pro-nuclear posters here, and many in favor of other technologies, ethanol, trains, NG, CSP etc...

You're responding to those opposed to ideas you are supporting, but that isn't everyone here. I get the same pushback any time I'm in a conversation about Electric Cars.. which maybe isn't as high on the scale of 'Techno-solutions' as your inclusion of Fission, but anything that seems to have that 'New Car Smell' will get a certain group riled up.. BUT that is a certain group. It's not the 'consensus' of the site.

Massive Die-off IS a completely tragic prospect, but this conversation is trying to look at the possibility of a waterfall we're allegedly heading towards.. it's by necessity a bit of a distanced view of ourselves as 'just some species', in a predicament. I can't deny that we've painted ourselves into a tight corner, and then lit that corner on fire. I simply don't accept that Thorium or Uranium have a prayer of surviving the environment we're heading into.. they might be workable BB's, but I'm far more hopeful (and I AM hopeful) about other levels of tools that I think we must be focusing on.

Vive la difference!

Sorry if I was harsh before. Everyone is on edge, and for good reason.. but I'll try to keep my head.

Bob Fiske
Portland Maine

Good point. I got a bit fatigued last time I was posting regularly from defending both wind and nuclear.

Bridging technologies are valuable and worth pursuing, if for no other reason than that we do have the resources now to chase down multiple paths and nobody knows what's going to pan out of that sand.

And I do mean nobody.

True enough.

It's pretty essential to jump out of debate mode on a regular basis, if not just to look up and remember that everyone is here for many of the same reasons and concerns.

The similarities likely far outweigh the differences.


We must be reading different Oil Drums

Charles, there is a distinction between a problem, which has a solution, and a predicament, which can only be adapted to.

It seems that you think we are working within the problem space rather than the predicament space. Reasonable people will disagree on that.

There is are valid and very good reasons why some of us are trying to show people this distinction, namely, that:

  • the longer we collectively take to start adapting, the harder it will be
  • the pain and suffering can be ameliorated and that's best done if we accept that the current system is coming to an end
  • as Nate points out, so-called "solutions" that don't take the debt overhang into account aren't grounded in reality and should be rejected in favor of those that do take the debt overhang into account

You may disagree with this assessment, but in my view the people on this board have the clearest idea of our constraints of any group I've come across. The public has no idea, the politicians won't articulate the constraints even if they see them and many scientists haven't done the necessary work to understand what has been learned here on The Oil Drum over the past five years.

No offense, I'm sure you're a nice person, but I've been in enough conversations now to know quickly when another person is missing something that is still hidden from their view. They will protest that they see the whole picture but they don't. For instance, almost every technology person I speak to here in Silicon Valley has absolutely no clue about the worldwide debt situation. Some of the executives do because they are out there trying to raise capital or finance projects but the average technologist just doesn't pay any attention to that.

Thus, for instance, they happily speak to audiences about the latest best thing and there is no one there to ask, "Yes, but where is the capital for all this going to come from in the midst of the largest credit contraction in human history?"

As for your assertion that everyone here wants billions of people to die an early death, well, that's just repugnant.

For instance, almost every technology person I speak to here in Silicon Valley has absolutely no clue about the worldwide debt situation. ... the average technologist just doesn't pay any attention to that. ... they happily speak to audiences about the latest best thing [iPad] and there is no one there to ask, "Yes, but where is the capital for all this going to come from in the midst of the largest credit contraction in human history?"

Bingo. You just whacked Dilbert right on his Fry's Electronics head!

(BTW, I hail from the Valley of the No More Silicon Fabs as well.)

The concept of Wealth from Myopic Tunnel Visions is one that has intrigued me for years. There are a lot of "experts" out there. But all of them suffer from myopia and tunnel vision. Few (except the Drummers here at TOD) can step back and see the bigger pictures.

So yes, there are Singularity-is-Near fanatics waiting out in the cold all night in front of the Apple store just so they can be first to score an iPad and thus save the world.

There are Wall Street gurus hanging online waiting to score their next big investment hit.

There are politicians out there desperately seeking the next crowd-resonant sound bite. And so on and so on.

It's hard to get any of them to step back and see the bigger view.

aangel, How do you know we face the predicament you claim. The claims about a so called predicament rest on metaphysical and other unscientific arguments. No one on the Oil Drum has ever proven the contention that we face the shortage of life and civilization sustaining resources which the neo-Malthusians claim. Arguments point to resource lists in geological textbooks. This is an intellectual error, conformationalism of the worst sort. The Limits of Growth offers what amounts to metaphysical arguments. Given the intellectual weakness of these arguments, is the predicament rational, or is it the product of a personal and fundamentally irrational inclination? Basically neo-Malthusianism offers an alternative fundamentalism, that is no more rational the religious fundamentalism.

We do face a predicament that entails choices, and wrong choices can lead to great disaster. There are at precent wrong choices being offered, and the worst of them is to give up and do nothing. It is my argument that there is at the very least probable cause for hope, and responsible people should chose to explore those options which offer hope.

You speak of a debt. I haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about, as do most of the people you mention. I have known about the problems that we face for 40 years, and i suspect that I have thought about them for a lot longer than you have. I see serious problems and trends, but no debt. I seriously doubt that there is a plausible case that our situation involves a debt of any sort. It does involve significant technological changes that will change the trajectory human society is presently on. Those technological changes are possible, but not inevitable.

This April 1 joke keeps on giving!

But I do agree on "Those technological changes are possible, but not inevitable.", all our problems have been solvable and manny of them are still solvable but that do not guarantee that anything will be done.

do you even know what future I envision? The answer may surprise you. (I don't think I've ever articulated what I think the future will be, other than we will likely face new currencies and a different socio-economic system). Now don't be putting words in my mouth sir.

And if you are referring to my essay on the neural correlates of belief and evolutionary underpinnings of optimism (helper T cells, reduction in cortisol, etc), that wasn't 'making fun' of optimism, merely explaining why it has been adaptive.

My comment above was cautioning you from lumping all commenters/contributors here into one group.

Thorium will do nothing for the debt overshoot we now face - of that Im reasonably certain - what role it plays in future society I am uncertain.

It bothers me a lot that people here speak of mass human death as if it were an inevitable certainty, which has no more meaning to themm than tying their shoes.

Does a Doctor who works in a trauma ward allow his humanity, and empathy for the suffering he witnesses, overcome his need to fight for the lives of his patients? No, he sucks it up and gets his hands dirty, and is willing to discuss survival percentages in a detached way.

Because if he didn't, people would die.

If we follow your way of thinking (which is the default North American view) no one will talk about it, and no one will do anything.

My view is that the Oil Drum's doomer side is yelling


and there is a truck.

But you don't think it's polite to mention the truck...

Charles, I'd invite you to look at the case of Russia in the '90's. There was a lot of suffering, considerable chaos, and general unpleasantness but not the sort of "Mad Max" scenario generally attributed to those of us of a Malthusian bent.

For the next 50 years the Russian scenario is the most likely one over parts of the world that undergo population collapse.

The case of Somalia is probably the worst we are going to see (I sincerely hope). It is in many ways that "Mad Max" scenario, but people get by there anyway. Much of Sub-Saharan Africa is in a bad way right now.

So it isn't a matter of forecasting, wishing, or hoping. It is a matter of simple observation that these things have happened, are happening, and will continue to happen, and that the extent to which they happen in various places will depend upon access to limited resources like oil and various minerals. If access gets too limited it won't just happen in places conveniently half a world away, but in places progressively closer to home.

And there are signs that some of those limits are closer than comfort demands.

What to do about it? Tread upon the Earth as lightly as you can, encourage others to do likewise, and search desperately for ways out and through.

Oh, by the way, I'm one of the optimistic Neo-Malthusians.

Hi Charles, you have my best wishes and sympathy in respect to your health problems.

I must agree with you when you say that a lot of the people who post don't seem to have any conception of what it is they think is coming.

But not all of us who think things nmay go all the way to hell in a hand basket are niave.

I have pisted on what it will be like on a day that a young man is out on the street intent on committing armed robbery in order to take something home for his choldren to eat-his wife being ready to sell herself for a bag of groceries-and I was talking about former young middle class professionals.About what it will be like if the water and sewer goes down for good in New York City and the military-whatever is left of it and can be brought to bear-is trying to move a few million people down to Alabama and Mississippi where there is plenty of land suitable for the return of human powered agriculture-and where the winters are very mild and the growing season is long.

Massive resistance will assume a whole new meaning when a black governor and the black head of his thoroughly integrated state police force meet the feds and the yankee refugees at the state line.

As for people like me who are at least halfway prepared for a return to the nineteenth century,I suppose we will have to organize a militia pdq if and when tshtf.

Personally I am not convinced that it will , at least not during the next couple of decades-which is as long as I can reasonably hope to be around. I am taking the possibility as seriuosly as I take anything else that might go wrong on the grand scale, such as becoming very seriously ill .

if the water and sewer goes down for good in New York City

Not going to happen.

New York City has the perfect water supply. Rainfall on undeveloped land upstate flows into reservoirs. From there is flows, via gravity, through 3 tunnels (#1 and #2 can meet the needs of NYC, or the 3rd tunnel alone) to NYC. Gravity alone forces water up to about the 6th floor (electric pumps are needed for higher).

Sewage can be dumped, untreated, into the Hudson River, mainly by gravity and a few pumps.

New York State has 2 GW of hydro at Niagara Falls. Enough for the basic public services.

Best Hopes,


Hi Alan,

Of course I could have picked a better example; but something equally bad could happen in many other large cities, depending on how far the decline goes.
And while I am more a declinist than a doomer, I can visualize a lot of things going wrong in a very big way in a lot of places -especially when you throw in the possibility of war,etc.

And I've been INSIDE that tunnel #3. Quite an umbilical. Made initially from petroleum, et al.. but now fixed in solid rock, and gravity fed (by and large).

Beyond what you've said, Cities like New York seem like monoliths, but they exist as dynamic nodes to the land and the economy around them. They are simply built around the fact that they will and must adapt to the flows that feed them. It once was shipping, lined up along the Hudson and over in Jersey City, etc.. Once fed by the Hudson and Erie Canal, then trains, then planes and highways. A city is what it is because it's a convenient hub location that channels the energies of the regions it represents.

As with Greer's 'Ancient Machine' of people assembled to a focused task, a city is likewise an ancient human machine that coalesces trade, finance and then a range of ancillary societal functions like higher education. Cities are so useful to human society, if they all disappeared today, we'd be starting the seeds for new ones by dinnertime tonight.

oldfarmermac, While i was studying for my masters nearly 40 years ago, I investigated Parson Malthus and his critics. In particular i investigated countervailing arguments and technologies. i focused on late 18th century-early 19th century birth control techniques, and early birth-control advocates. It was quite clear that birth-control was an option, even though Parson Malthus disapproved of it. It is also evident that Parson Malthus greatly underestimated the potential for improvements in agricultural technology, and the resulting expansion of the food supply. Neo-Malthusians should do their hone work. You may and indeed probably will turn out to be just as wrong as Parson Malthus was.

At some point Malthus has to be right.

There has to be some finite, minimum amount of energy and other resources required on a per-person basis to sustain life.

Expanding human population to infinity and beyond is not a viable option.

The reindeer on St. Matthews Island were not an anomaly.

I am reminded of my frequent signature line,

Best Hopes,

Alan, a member in good standing @ TOD

And I have seem quite enough suffering and death post-Katrina. The smell of death had almost vanished when I returned (3 days after 82nd Airborne would let me through the checkpoint because I had the right zip code on my DL).

Post-Katrina, the nursing home population had been moved, anyone diagnosed with cancer was told to leave town for treatment and almost all of the frail elderly were gone.

Despite the removal of 3 major sources of morbidity, the death rate in New Orleans increased by 48% post-Katrina (first year).

I have seen and lived it. And that is when I coined my signature line.

Charles - a die off is bad for anybody who experiences it, but better for anyone who arrives on this planet after it's complete.

A world with a population of 1-2 billion or less could better arrange itself around renewables like solar and wind. The worst feedback effects of global warming may be short circuited. We would see an increase in biodiversity, with all of the benefits that would entail.

Just like after the Black Death, the European peasantry found themselves much more valuable to their lords, given their smaller numbers. So they had more food, better tools and greater opportunities. Eventually out of this came guilds, merchants, commerce, laws, nations, science, and the modern world. Of course, it also gave us zyklon b and the atomic bomb, but hey, whoever said we were more than just clever apes.

Question: Who poses a greater threat to humanity? The Neo-Malthusian who warns that there are physical limits to the services that planet earth can provide or the Cornucopian economist who insists, as the late Julian Simon did, that the earth can support 60 billion people?

Even if we could support the number of people we have, why would we want this many people? Wilderness is the preservation of the world and it cannot be sustained with the number of people we have or even a much smaller number. The earth was a garden of eden and we have been in the process of turning it into a desert ever since.

Boy, Charles; you really don't mind wearing your delusions on your sleeve, do you?

'Bike riders worse than Greens' says Barton.. 'and they don't care about someone who has a serious health problem.. just happy to see them die.'

As the saying goes, You're not even wrong, here. Tarzan was right about the stereotypes you're slinging around. I hope your Nuclear Advocacy is based on better information than you're using to gauge people.

Please leave Charles alone.
He understands and is horrified.

Therefore he can be saved.
I hope that he accepts and starts planning.

Perhaps more people like Charles will stumble in here.
That would be progress.

You're right Arthur.

I should have seen that this was fear talking.

I have a weak spot for the big generalizations...

jokuhl, Thank you. The point is of course not to save myself alone, but to save all of us, and to find a path to where all can live in peace and prosperity. Anything else should be unacceptable.

I hope your Nuclear Advocacy is based on better information than you're using to gauge people.

I'm afraid your hopes are unfounded.

But Charles is right about the population doomers (cf. stopped clock example).

I am sure that if those people realized you had a disability, they would not be looking down their noses. Get the huge chip off your shoulder and stop generalizing. No one is perfect, including environmentalists or those who call themselves environmentalists. Many of us are much farther along the path to righteousness than others but need to progress much further. It's a process.

As for Whole Foods, I frankly don't understand going there if there are reasonable alternatives. I agree that it is primarily a store for people who are still in the throes of over consumption. And overpriced to boot. But how do you know these people in Whole Foods claim to be environmentalists? Did you interview them or did they have a big tattoo on their foreheads.

It sounds to be that you just don't like environmentalists and are looking at an excuse to trash them.

tstreet I was offended by the suggestion that bicycling was a practical solution. The offense was inadvertently offensive, but was still insensitive. i am grateful to our civilization because it offers me a chance to live, make other people happy, and to be sometimes useful.

My views on self styled environmentalists comes from a brief Sierra Club association, during which I observed a good deal of "environmentally correct" consumerism, together with a certain snobbish attitude toward people who did not have the right brand of hiking equipment. I had though that hiking was a chance to enjoy nature, but quickly discovered that in the Sierra Club it is a chance to show off your possessions.

The response of the working poor (the social class that I am most sympathetic to) to the collapse of public transportation post-Katrina was to bicycle. The social classes biking past my house has spread and increased, which is ALL good IMO.

There is no more cost-effective, and quick, response to a post-Peak Oil world than increased bicycling. And biking holds the promise of significantly increased public health#.

Best Hopes for Maximizing Biking,


# The statistics for those that bike to work vs. those that do not, is bikers live +12 years longer due to reduced cardiovascular (strong) & cancer (weak effect) disease but lose two years to accidents.

However, increased bicycling modal share keeps the overall mortality steady. Double biking and halve the accident rate. Quadruple biking and quarter the accident rate.

Once a Wall Streeter, always a Wall Streeter, eh Nate? We've been had!

'The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources-- Robert Solow - Nobel Prize winner in Economics - 'The Economics of Resources or the Resources of Economics.' Journal of Economic Literature 6 11. 1974.

Did he really say this? Why is it these Noble prize winners in Economics can get away with talking complete bollocks?

compare his statement:

"The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources"

with the following:

"The world cannot, in effect, function with limited natural resources"

The first is non-falsifiable, at least on the timeline of whoever is saying it. The 2nd is immediately falsifiable as by all outward appearances, the world IS functioning quite well with limited natural resources.

Full stop.
Yes, he wrote that in the book (pg 36 in my autographed copy)

HAHAHAha ha HA! That was superb - tankyouberrymulch for the quotes. Well done!


Quite Interesting !

May I suggest hiring Karl Rove as a PR consultant for your new LLC ?

Not Such Great Hopes for GS,


That is what we evolved big brains for, to rationalise our stupidity.

What you will see in the comming years will be old institutions mostly churches converting thousands of years of gold reserves (thousands of metric tons) into U.S. dollars, but not into the open market. The reason is that most of these institutions are in countries that need financial help and there is a need for expansion and protection of these institutions. This may change your outlook.


"There and Back Again" - aka "The Hobbit".
Nice ;)

My favourite gems (for backtracking and stuff):

Nate minimum indicator in the graph

No condoms - No standards policy

awarding $500 grants for each genetically verified child conceived with the sperm I've sent to various third-world refrigeration facilities. In that way I intend to finally embrace the the agenda of my genes

The thing about blue planet and

I've discovered that (over) 70% of our planets surface is water (H2O).

But this one:

and by living modestly during this time, I have reset my brain for a multiplicity of dopamine surges as I ratchet back into conspicuous consumption.

... doesn't sound like a man in suits. You need to work on your language, geek.

Bah, first time I fell for an April Fools joke today :P

should have moved it more towards the credible and watched the drama unfold

I suspect that would have been quite messy; the (virtual) pitchforks and torches kind of messy.

Our financial woes might just be over. This is very exciting;

Apr 1, 2010 ... Massachusetts Biotech and Technology

"Researchers discover process for rendering plasma from the root of the Brassica rapa commonly known as the turnip."

Another perfectly wonderful saying eviscerated by the march of technology.

All of your advisers at the Gund must be breathing a collective sigh of relief that you never finished your PhD thesis.

Greetings Nate

As with all of your other articles I have to strain to understand the core of it. Is any of what you've written up for real, or is all of it a satire of "Cornucopia LLC?"

Are you really gonna work for Goldman Sachs, or is this a fictional story along with the rest?



I'll let NH speak for himself, but IMO his articles are worthwhile because they are so broad - i.e. there isn't a core to many aspects of our situation - and addressing just energy or just water or just economics is not sufficient enough - proper mitigation needs to be holistic and wide in scope.

In the case of todays article however, I think it has more to do with the date.

Brilliant as usual Nate!

Thank the maker I can now stop worrying and go back into the business world where it is all up, up, up. Growth. Profits. No more of this academic scientific bullc**p. Just go with the flow.

This is great news!

I have myself made a great discovery today that makes it even easier to fuel our cars. I have filled my bathtub most every day and never realy thought about the little bubbles that cling to the enamel. Millions of people have done this every day and never though about the clear and true fact that water is H2O and enamel surfaces are catalytic. These small bubbels are in fact hydrogen and oxygen gas released from the catalytic reaction between water and enamel.

The realy cool thing is that you can check it out yourself and validate my theory. You can of course not do it with a untreated match since the top of the water would extinguish it. You need to light a candle and then dip a fresh match in the wax to coat it. Then you fill up your bathtub and draw the waxed match along the bottom to light up the hydrogen and oxygen.

I do not need to be responsible for any detonations since Swedish law is focused on individual responisbility and you can not sue me if your bath tub blows up. This might however make it impossible for me to visit USA but it is a small loss compared to saving mankind!

I have already applied for a patent on mass produced micro bathtubs and an auto tweezers for sorting the oxygen and hydrogen bubbels. Sorting is very important since you can not get energy from nothing!

I am inspired.
I shall do the experiment.
Wish me luck.

You are going to be growing a hedge?

I hope it grows nice, thick and fast so the hedge can provide all the cell-u-otic e-then-all we humans will need. (For fuel and liver damage of course)

nicely done. this made my morning. :)

I forgot it was April Fools day until I got to the part about Goldman Sachs. Good joke!

I hope that you are going to find a position for Jay Hanson. Whatever may come we are going to need someone to manage our lives.


Ya had me going up until neither biology nor ecology has incorporated enough economic theory., at which point my brain went "What the!?! ... Oh, yeah, it's April 1st."

Thx for the laff

What's really amazing is that when you look closely at the image of Earth, it actually is noticeable how much of the water along the coasts these days is eutrophic (green/turquoise shading), unless what I am looking at is just a poor resolution image.

I give this post 9/10 overall, and what makes this a great one is that it is really only goes a half step beyond what the cornucopian viewpoint actually states. They say the best satire is hardly distinguishable from reality...

I read the opening paragraph on the TOD main page, not clicking over to the story, but thinking....Just yesterday Obama's talking like Pallin, we all know what happened with Rubin-the American, not the Canadian, I guess I'm not surprised, but what will happen to your spuds?

Very clever, indeed. But President Obama's announcement today about offshore drilling beat *your* April Fool's joke by a very wide margin!

Joke? Is it possible that Obama is actually becoming concerned about peak oil?

That's old news on this site buddy.

We were laughing at that last week.

Which day did you discuss the French article. I assume that this discussion was prior to President Obama's announcement, but am still curious as to what was said.

Hi Robert. Go read Leanan's Drumbeat of March 28 and the comments where we get stuck right into it.


For what it is worth, the Economist sent us an e-mailed Press Release:

Peak olive oil

Russia will profit most from the coming olive-oil crisis

PEAK-oil theorists, who claim that oil supplies cannot keep rising to meet global demand, have long been dismissed as scaremongers. But in one area they are being proven right. It is becoming clear that reserves of olive oil will peak in the coming decade, as climate change wipes out most of the groves in the Mediterranean, the main production zone. The likes of Turkey will struggle to make up supply. Russia, however, expects to profit handsomely: its steppes, freed of permafrost, will soon host vast olive groves; a series of pipelines will send extra-virgin supplies westwards. Yet not all are happy. A Russian deal to pipe oil directly to Germany has caused dismay in central European countries that will be bypassed, potentially leaving salads undressed. On Thursday April 1st several leaders in the region released a statement dismissing the German move as the worst sort of “pal for oil joke”.

We haven't responded. One of our staff members suggested that we send back a prediction of $5.00 oil forever.

Congrats, Nate!

I'm glad you've seen the light. I was getting a little concerned how caught up you were getting in all that hippie goat-raising crap.

I'm taking a big short position in Malthus, Inc. today and going long some call options on AT (Accelerated Throughput).

I got caught with my shorts down.

Pull them back up please. Thank you.

(random attempt at humor)

You forgot to tell people about the super secret startup your fund is investing in that makes copper by concentrating moon beams inside a chia pet container. Julian Simon would be so proud!

Chia pet

I just commented on the 5 year anniversary on how I fell for the Karl Rove April fools, and yet I was some how lured once again into the abyss of expectations. It only highlights the power of the media, as they play with the minds of the masses every day. Wow what a fool!

Actually, this moonbat is reassessing his priorities after the news from the LHC in France, and you may wish to as well. In a sense, the cornucopians were right; just not in the sense they thought.

Future Not Real, say LHC Scientists

Divon les Baines, France (API): Confounding those who said the discoveries of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would be hopelessly esoteric, one of its earliest results has shocking implications which "can be appreciated by any third-grader", according to LHC spokesperson Dr. Morgan Chu from France.

"It's difficult to illustrate non-mathematically, but early-on in the LHC's testing we've found that, basically, the future doesn't exist. It just isn't there."

Einstein famously pointed out that the flow of time is an illusion, but even he made the assumption that the continuity of time as a thermodynamic direction was seamless. This simply turns out not to be the case, and the jarring ramifications are only starting to be appreciated.

"Not least of [these] ramifications is that Einstein never actually existed. Our memories of him, and indeed all of recorded history and the visible universe itself, popped into existence en gestalt in the last month or so." Chu continued, "Scientists have often wondered how many values for the universe are actually expressed by the quantum mechanical 'wave function' represented by our deepest theories. It turns out that very few of them are actually realized. We have always known that both an 'open future' and an 'open past' were implied requirements of quantum mechanics, but we have focused more on using the equations to solve problems and less on what they implied."

"The chief requirement seems to be self-consistency, and nothing more." said Chu. The universe we seem to experience exists stranded in block time, with a total temporal extent of between 50 and 90 days." Asked how this fundamental change in our understanding of the universe would affect mankind, Chu concluded "Well I don't know about you, but I'm going to go out, find a couple hookers and start drinking."

The universe we seem to experience exists stranded in block time, with a total temporal extent of between 50 and 90 days.

Wow! This seems to validate the idea of maximizing gains in the short term. Free Market Economics is vindicated once again. And think of the legal implications: all contracts, patents, and jail sentences should be invalidated after 90 days.

"..that Einstein never actually existed."

You've forgotten that there is actually proof of this in another case.

Seems Mssr. Descartes was taking what would be his last flight, going to Hawaii for a Philosophy Conference, and the flight attendant (at the time known as 'a Stewardess') asked him if he would prefer 'Coffee, Tea or Milk?', and he tosses her a glance replying, "I think not.." and promptly disappeared!

I don't know if this was intended to be a joke or not but the part of the future not existing seems to be consistent with Buddhist thought. There is only the Now.

Indeed; as the Buddhist said to the hot dog vendor, "make me one with everything".

Those LHC guys are quite the jokers; they may be softening us up for an upcoming press release about creating a mini black hole that fell to the core of the earth.

The original story was longer and more interesting, but on checking back, it seems to have been deleted from the LHC site; as I recall it involved a surprise resolution to the so-called "tachyon problem", particles theorized to exist travelling backwards in time which had never been seen.

They detected them indirectly through LHC collisions with exactly the predicted properties, but only in trace amounts, showing that the temporal extent of reality is negligible in our case rather than having a continuous existence. Some of them hypothesize that the LHC itself tunneled into existence fully formed as a quantum vacuum fluctuation, creating the human race, fossil record, and the rest of the observed spatial universe out of the deep self-consistency requirements of the quantum multiverse, which is why we find ourselves possessed of an advanced technological civilization, thumbs, and language despite the universe only being 5 weeks old tops.

Of course, even though it has a limited temporal extent of a couple months, we are for all practical purposes immortal since the time doesn't "flow" anywhere. From the viewpoint of a hypothetical observer outside our static block time, we are frozen doing exactly this for eternity.

Happy April 1.

Great stuff Sir, and now I have a new joke to hit my buddist girlfriend with.

I am so glad I read through these comments before starting to write my own. I was getting ready to email the editors too and ask them why they would even allow such an article to be published here. Hysterical! Very well written because I can actually see some people thinking this way.


Here I was, wondering when I would read my first April fool's blog post and it took me all the way until the graph with "Nates Minimum" before it dawned on me that, Nate has not defected to the Dark Side. Had me going for a while there. Good one!

Alan from the islands

Good one!

You had me going until I realized that multi-billion dollar financial institutions would never turn over management to somebody with no experience fresh out of school...


Yeah.... :(

You had me until No Condoms - No Standards. What a relief.

Nice try Nate, but my all time favorite geek April Fools story is

"My Life as a Forth Interpreter"

though of course, "little bobby tables" is a hoot too.

I see your geek stories, and raise you flying penguins.

The flying penguins one is great!

The Blood Pressure was rising, eyes bulging, respiration shallow, fingers trembling just waiting to plunge into the keyboard. Traitor. Jerk. Money hungry SOB Get the Major Attack Dogs Ilargi & Stoneleigh over at TAE to rip you to pieces.

Good one Nate you had me going for a while.

We have a little independent weekly newspaper that everyone loves It headlined a couple of years ago "Proudly purchased by Murdoch News Ltd" Just about caused a riot.

Big Fat Hairy April Fools Joke. Yeehaah!

I started to get mushy and teary-eyed at the end: "As for the rest of you who remain unconvinced, best of luck growing those tomatoes in humanure and roping goats in the suburbs. I'll think about you often. That's what relative wealth is all about."

Yep, I reflected, that's a good description of a heap of us on the fringes of TOD he's talkin' about: Ropin' goats in the suburbs, knee-deep in humanure. We can't all be captains of industry; I've said that a hunderd times.

I've been busy, so couldn't respond earlier. Best line of the bunch:

We're currently looking for a way to short water...

You would have meant salt water, of course...

Good job, Nate! Almost had me for a minute there.


Actually the real big April Fools Joke is the Fox News Talking Heads yesterday telling about the trillions of barrels of oil now available for us that the Pres has given the order to "Drill Everywhere". Whew. We are saved.

Good timing for that news report.

Happy April Fool's to you too, Nate.

Nate, that was good. The question that came first in my mind, though, was whether there was some subtle meaning in the fact that both of us just did posts riffing off Tolkien's The Hobbit...


I have dibs on that, druid. I started it yesterday. Me, me, me!

(Of course, that post took me about two minutes to write, so it's possible, however unlikely, that you guys were already working on your massy missives when I penned my inspirational Tolkien reference.)

Nice Article, by the way.

April Fool Day's posts and reposts from National Review Online.

ENERGY 04/01
Stall, Baby, Stall
The administration’s sudden interest in offshore drilling is little more than political posturing designed to gain support for job-killing energy legislation. ► SARAH PALIN

ENERGY II 04/01 4:00 A.M.
Drill, Obama, Drill
Obama’s drilling proposal is acceptable — if there are no strings attached. ► THE EDITORS

■ KUDLOW: Obama’s Offshore-Drilling Plan: A Start

ENERGY III 04/01 4:00 A.M.
Fossil Future
“Drill, baby, drill” falls short of a serious energy policy. But a serious energy policy would certainly involve plenty of drilling. ► JONAH GOLDBERG

"Those who believe that the earth is finite hate America." Probably said by Sarah Palin. Actually, the quote from SP was too articulate and must have been written by a ghost writer.

Good April Fools joke, you had me going there for awhile. Now if only most people weren't april fools all the time...

One could start printing paper money endlessly turning every piece of paper we could find into money. This is the ultimate supply side scenario, think Gilder, where paper is transformed straight across into money, which according to theory would result in more paper for more money and so on without end. Then we can take this infinite amount of money and burn it for energy.

What about using all that potential energy in the moon? I wondered if anyone has thought of placing a few hundred ION engines on the far side of the moon. A century later the moon crashes into the Earth resulting in a massive EROIE. I'm sure the geniuses at Goldman Sachs can figure out how to monetize this by selling moon energy futures. We can call it the Moon Bubble.

One could start printing paper money endlessly turning every piece of paper we could find into money. This is the ultimate supply side scenario,

Maybe the Fed could come up with a new mobius strip dollar that has only a supply side and no demand side and it could be endlessly recyclable.



This old man is pissed. Through TOD, you have become one of my favorite people. When I read the above the fold, it almost broke my heart.

Of course a few lines below the fold offered great emotional relief.

After emotional recovery, I offer my compliments for a splendid satire.



Nate I thought you lost your mind. After a few minutes of reading I turned off the computer and left it off all afternoon. I guess you got me. When I logged on and realized it was all a joke I sure felt foolish.

Nate, you had me going for a while, sinking feeling and all! No, noo, nooo, noooooh -- aw sh@t, what day is it?

I got suckered. I got part way through thinking WTF? And then I scrolled down and saw "God wants us to" . . . yeah, April Fools.

Ditto here.
The front end was all too close to Wall Street babble of the first kind. It sounded like Nate had truly drunk the Kool Aid and was punch drunk in love with the idea of cornucopian wealth of unimaginable enormity. Where else can an enterprising young man make a couple of loose trillions than at Goldman's ?

And I was looking forward to seeing Nate in a pin-striped suit and short cropped haircut. Darn!

Diary of a Pin_striped Hit Man

Spectacular Nate! You had me for half a second, because my first reaction was this is April fools, but of course that was yesterday down here in New Zealand, and the post said April 2nd, so I thought bugger, he's writing this on April the second, so I tried to bend my mind in your direction a second time, before tripping over the self same phrases that gave the game away to other readers.

When I'm not logged in to TOD, I see the American date on the posts. I should have stayed logged out and my heart would be better....

Awesome work, even if it happened in the past for those of us with intimate knowledge of the LHC.....

Well done Nate. I actually stopped reading the article in disbelief and skipped to the comments in the HOPE that it was satire.

Sooo glad it was.

Grats on an epic April 1st!

Thanks to you, I've discovered what it is like to pass green tea through my probiscous (in liquid form, of course).

We are expecting great things when you graduate (no pressure, no, no...).

Well done, Nate.

Of course judging by some of the comments here you could have caused a heart attack or two!

It makes one wonder, what are the range of "acceptable" life decisions for the TOD crowd? I'm pretty sure we run the gamut of professions including many in the oil and investment banking industries. Not everyone can be a doomsteader!

I love April fools jokes! Isn't this something like perpetual motion??? Playing on Peoples emotions isn't always the kindest.... but it is April 1. Fool for a day! Hold your head high, take another hit and enjoy! The Hangover tomorrow will suck, but what an enjoyable illusion indeed!

ABBA is on!

0h Nate,
you are getting better and better! But unfortunately this is getting too smart for me to understand it - let alone to cornu-cope with it. Maybe you spent a bit much of your new Goldman salary for champaign and drank it all up at once, and now you are shering with us your somewat confuzed New Thinkling.

Anyway you gave me a bright flash of inspiration about how this annoying peek oyle problem can be solved:
Give Goldman jobs to all peak oilers - and they'll stop to nag at once ;-)

BTW: I like your golden Money Print Theory (MPT)
As money is printed, you have to be close to its genesis
This new economic theory is so clear, simple and intriguing - and gives way to an entirely new way of looking at things! How come that no one before had thought about it?!
I think this is worth to nominate you for the next Nobel Prize of economy!

On the other hand you won't get any award for your main trading strategy and you should admit that you've copied this from Harold Hotelling, the OPEC gang and their sovereign wealth funds. But well, they didn't claim a copyright on this, did they?

So I wish you good luck - and always a gang of CornuCops around you to protect your Gini-grown plantation of paper-wealth.

D)Whenever possible, increase our gearing ratio.

Spot on :)

LOL! Bravo, Nate!

I can finally see through the smog.

Euan, sorry I've been out of touch. I may have a role for you on our carbon trading desk (obviously we'll be net short). It may also involve running errands and getting coffee from time to time. I'll contact you offline...

OK Bilbo. Are we going to short warming also? What is the weather like in the Bahamas?

I used to think that this cornicopian idea that "humans don't need no stinkin' resources" was all bunk .... but then I remembered that Easter Island now has 250 billion people, and that they are the economic powerhouse of the planet producing almost unlimited wealth and well being on shere "hopium" alone.

Oh wait - it's no longer April 1st.... :-D

Also known as YesObtainium ala FreeMarketTainment

News has it that the Grand Dutchy of Easter Island is building a set of shoreline sky scrapers even taller than Dubai's

you had me going on this for a few moments. Then, I realized how could you do a 180 degree change of your long held cultural norms so quickly? After that, I looked at the date.

I was thinking reading Nate's April 1st contribution and the many comments how powerful group think is. It is not only the specifics of Nate's writing that lured us into this april fools joke but the context of this site and the role and reputation Nate accumulated through the years. This made the joke all the more compelling and the collective group think more persuasive. This was actually quite instructive as I found myself early on reading the piece wondering if it isn't time to re evaluate the collective reinforcement of opinion that a site like this can have on ones own views.......

ps, Nate, Good Name for the Biz, there!

I've seriously (as serious as I get, anyway) considered calling my Handyman/Repair business "Technofix" .. mainly just to be a little eyecatching, and to irritate my doomer friends. (aka 'foul weather friends' .. ie, they've got your back, but what they're doing back there, you don't really know, yet.)

I didn't know I was responding you up there.. only just now saw your post.

It's certainly worth keeping that in mind. How do you suppose one would 'rebreak the table', as it were? To really look at the fundamental assumptions and make sure they haven't just become 'required memes to be accepted'

Growth, CC, PO, Auto Culture, etc..

I wonder about using a debating tactic I heard about, where you try to argue the other side's points, just to really wrap your head around them, and possibly see in them possibilities that you didn't as an outright opponent.

(fwiw, I don't think the groupthink is going unchecked here, even when I do see where there is pressure to 'accept' .. but the arguments do have the requirement of backing with substance, too.. purely rhetorical arguments do seem to get called out)

Bravo. My heart was in my throat.

'No condoms - No standards' policy. So I'm guessing I will have over a dozen kids due in about 7-8 months. Mom get ready.

Oh Dear, Nate. Now you have me concerned about these incestuous thoughts. Time for Confessional...

Pretty good Nate, first article of yours I've near read through in a while. Hope you got enough of an adulation fix from the comments ?- )