You can read his letter here.
He’s so pessimistic. Way beyond what is realistic. He leaves essentially no room for optimism, in any of his analyses.
Commodities – I think in general, he is correct here. Although I think that he underestimates the capacity of people to use less and to recycle.
Oil – He is hugely underestimating the impact of electric cars. Remember how emerging economies skipped land line telephone connections completely? It’s going to be the same way for internal combustion engines. Tesla is planning 500,000 cars per year by 2020. While I realize that this is a drop in the bucket (currently 62M cars in the US), if they start selling those cars, everyone else will have to also, because the profit margins will drive them to it. He is also underestimating the impact of possible driverless cars, which will reduce the number of cars needed in the first place. And most importantly, he is not even considering the possibility of game changing energy sources. Included in this category are cold fusion technology, which is almost ready for the military now, breakthroughs in solar technology, which are certainly being researched by governments and industry, and breakthrough battery technology, which is also receiving a lot of research attention.
Water – I have a lot of concern about water. I think he is right, up to the point that game changing energy becomes available. And then it will suddenly stop being an issue.
Global food – Mixed thoughts here. He is right that the combination of more people and climate change adds up to not enough food. But once again, if we get that new energy, it will free up fully half the US corn crop. Plus indoor growing is energy constrained. Imagine what co-ops will do with free energy for growing stuff year round.
Income inequality – really only problematic in the political arena, which for some reason Grantham addresses separately. See This.
Politics – *sigh* The most depressing part. He is 100% correct, and I fear that there is no hope. And he wrote this before that horrifying debate on Fox.
Limitations of Homo Sapiens – I can’t for the life of me understand how he reaches this conclusion, or even begins to make it. It is in direct opposition to every bit of evidence in human existence, from da Vinci to Einstein to Elon Musk.
Oh, he does mention the energy stuff at the end. But if he really thinks it can happen, then it eliminates a lot of this newsletter.
Our overarching premise is based on optimism. The inevitability of human progress. If we believe that there is even a possibility that human progress is going to stall, then we are in the wrong business. This new energy HAS TO HAPPEN. It’s not if, it’s when. And the fact that fossil fuels seem to be making our planet uninhabitable is not really even that big of a driving force. And that’s only ONE area of technological breakthrough that could change everything. Nanotechnology is another. Also bioengineering. And artificial intelligence. There is so much possible advancement for us that is just around the corner!