Back in the day, when I went to college (circa early 80s), The Club of Rome's famous pronouncement in the 1972 book Limits to Growth, that the world would soon run out of non-renewable resources, was a subject of derision. Seemingly inexhaustible supplies of oil, the Green Revolution, slowing birth rates and all meant no worries.
Well, I think the Club may be in for a bit of a Paul Kennedy moment. Over at the Oil Drum blog, there are an increasing number of folks who are pretty certain we've passed peak oil, and the world is now on the down side of the bell curve in oil production. Result: the age of cheap energy is over.
This story in today's Wall Street Journal is also rather disconcerting. It says that the era of cheap foodstuffs is at an end. Surging global demand for everything from milk to meat and grains is driving up crop and other commodities prices, such as eggs, rice and cheese. A growing middle class in Asia and Latin America means people want more meat and milk and other good eats. Then, add in this story from today's New York Times that booming China is running out of water.
Resource scarcity is the world's oldest conflict driver. Globalization is creating a very haves and have nots world. We are entering an era where the contest for resources could get real ugly.