Apocalypse: Not Now?

Good Black Belts and other performance improvement professional understand the importance of proper time spans in data collection and measurement. We can arrive at disastrously poor conclusions and decisions if we use a time frame that distorts the context. For example, depending on your start date, you can make a mutual fund’s performance look very good or very bad over the time period.

Some earlier posts (Collapse, The Revenge of Malthus) explored the possibility of oil production reaching its peak. A counter argument is that as a resource reaches a point of scarcity, prices rise giving incentive for ingenious people to find new ways of extracting the material in new ways and places. This graph from The Economist shows non-oil commodity prices going back to 1845. Although there is a recent rise in prices, historically the overall trend is for falling commodity costs.

Commodity Index