In other words, we are not only reaching peaks in production of essential resources such as energy and food; we may be on the verge of permanently destroying our ability to produce those resources. Right now, this is extremely inflationary. Every new phase of environmental destruction or depletion, every new outbreak of war, and every new epidemic of deadly disease is part and parcel of a single, integrated process: The vicious cycle of the population explosion and inflation.
If we could see at least some sign - even preliminary or cursory - that population growth is slowing, that government policy is changing, or that the push for economic growth at any cost is receding ... then, maybe, we could start talking about the end of inflation. But right now, there is no such sign. Quite to the contrary, the inflationary pressures are growing.
Looking at the longest possible time horizon in the past, we can see that the population explosion has massive momentum - with roots going back to the industrial revolution, even back to the dawn of agriculture 100 centuries ago. Looking at the present, we also see great momentum: The rapid growth of China, India and other emerging nations ... the reluctance of the United States to reduce its deficits ... the intense desire of all countries to keep their booms and bubbles going. And focusing on the near future, we can see, for the first time in over a millennium, a global collision between demand and supply.
Yes, there's talk of fighting the inflation. But the reality is that, despite meek attempts to raise interest rates in recent months, the central banks of the world have, so far, demonstrated neither the political mandate nor the personal courage to do much to stop it.
Can This Inflation Continue Forever?
Absolutely not. At some point in the not-too-distant future, this explosion - in population, consumption, and the exhaustion of scarce resources - will inevitably collide with limits to growth. Brazil, China, India, the United States and most of the world's economies will reach a breaking point beyond which further acceleration is virtually impossible. Prices will be so high, and incomes so low, that the demand for goods will plunge. Governments will fall. Economies will collapse. That's when you will see the other side of the parabolic growth curve. That's when you will see deflation.
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