Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Perfect Example of Market Fundementalism

John Tierney has placed a $5,000 bet on oil prices in 2010. He did this not because he has any knowledge of oil markets or production, but because he believes that the market always prevents natural resource crises from occuring. This is a piece of wisdom he learned from Julian Simon. All natural resources are unlimited. No society has ever collapsed from expending its natural resources. Really. The free market provides. The only piece of evidence he provides is the story of Paul Ehrlich loosing a bet to Julian Simon over the price of copper. Matthew Simmons, who took Tierney's bet, gave Tierney a wide spread. He thinks that the price of a barrel of oil in 2010 will be over $200, adjusted for inflation.

I won't make any predictions about the exact price of oil. I just want to note right now how little evidence Tierney has. He even flaunts his disinterest in real data. I can't think of a better example of belief in free markets acting exactly like religious faith. There is no need to look at the world, look into your heart. Just as the bible can tell us more about history than fossils, so to can the market tell us more about natural resources than geologists and engineers.

Oh yes, and housing prices are going to go up indefinitely, too. There is no housing bubble. Bubbles are imperfections in the market. The market is perfect.

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