Forget the fiscal cliff. That's just a blip on the radar. The real worry is the number of humans now alive, and how many more of them there'll be. That might sound mundane, but the effects will be on par with the Plagues of Egypt, according to renowned investor Jeremy Grantham of GMO.
Grantham argues that planet earth can't support its current 7 billion inhabitants, let alone double that number, which is set to happen in the next century.
As the population swells, so will commodity prices, as demand outstrips supply. We can expect "price pressure and shortages of resources" to become "a permanent feature of our lives." For instance, with demand for oil outstripping supply, we'll see prices hit $75 a barrel - a vast increase on ~$16 a barrel, the price for most of the twentieth century.
As Grantham notes, the problem may be self-correcting, but the process won't be pretty: populations of poorer countries could be slashed by food and resource shortages. His takeaway? "We all need to develop serious resource plans, particularly energy policies."
Posted Nov 23, 4am PST.