Don’t let speculation distract us from peak oil

29 Aug 2011

Over at Econbrowser, economist James Hamilton—who has done a lot of excellent work on oil prices—takes a look at how much of a role speculators may have played in oil prices.

His conclusion: speculation probably played some role, but don’t let this blind you.

As he puts it:

I would like to see more consensus on what seems to me to be a very clear statement of fact, which is, stagnating global production is by far the most important reason for a rising price of oil.

Insofar as discussion of commodity futures speculation causes some people to ignore this critical reality, I fear that it may be doing us a significant disservice.

For the record, Hamilton does not specify in this post whether he thinks that this recent stagnation is necessarily the peak of global oil production. But he is generally worried about peak oil.


books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Mason's favorite books »