Low Oil Prices: Sign of a Debt Bubble Collapse, Leading to the End of Oil Supply?

Our Finite World

Oil and other commodity prices have recently been dropping. Is this good news, or bad?

Figure 1. Trend in Commodity Prices since January 2011. Brent spot oil price from EIA; Australian Coal from World Bank Prink Sheet; Food from UN's FAO. Figure 1. Trend in Commodity Prices since January 2011. Brent spot oil price from EIA; Australian Coal from World Bank Prink Sheet; Food from UN’s FAO.

I would argue that falling commodity prices are bad news. It likely means that the debt bubble which has been holding up the world economy for a very long time–since World War II, at least–is failing to expand sufficiently. If the debt bubble collapses, we will be in huge difficulty.

Many people have the impression that falling oil prices mean that the cost of production is falling, and thus that the feared “peak oil” is far in the distance. This is not the correct interpretation, especially when many types of commodities are decreasing in price at the same time. When prices are set in a world market, the…

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Bill Clinton: Two books you should read

Global Public Square

Fareed asks former U.S. President Bill Clinton for his ‘Book of the Week.’

Mr. President, we usually have an end segment where I recommend a book of the week. We are blowing it out all for you, so I’m giving you the last word, which is what book would you recommend? You’re a voracious reader. If you were to tell our readers, what should they read?

If you’ll give me two.

Sure.

First, I’d like readers to read Abundance, the Peter Diamandis book with his coauthor, because if they did that, they would see that while the headlines are really bad in the world today, the trend lines are pretty good. Extreme poverty is down. The health care is improving dramatically around the world. There are developments now which make me believe we might be able to do what we did in the 1990s, which is to use technological developments to…

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