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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Back Date Evidence of a Resource Shortage

According to Paul Kedrosky (while discussing the well-known Simon–Ehrlich bet):

Simon famously offered to bet comers on any timeline longer than a year, and on any commodity, but the bet itself was over a decade, from 1980-1990. If you started the bet any year during the 1980s Simon won eight of the ten decadal start years. During the 1990s things changed, however, with Simon the decadal winners in four start years and Ehrlich winning six – 60% of the time. And if we extend the bet into the current decade, taking Simon at his word that he was happy to bet on any period from a year on up (we don’t have enough data to do a full 21st century decade), then Ehrlich won every start-year bet in the 2000s.
It looks like Paul Kedrosky managed to backdate a price rise that started in the mid-naughties back a decade by looking at ten-year bets, thereby making this price rise look like something long term instead of a reaction to funny money. As I predicted a few years ago:
The Malthusians will claim high commodities prices prove they were right after all. They will also claim unemployment is due to population growth outrunning job growth. (Isn't it amazing how they only seem to be right immediately after lots of funny money has been printed?)
On the other hand, maybe Simon was more willing to offer the bet because Paul Volcker had been appointed to the Federal Reserve.

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