Monday, August 26, 2013

Amounts of Scarce Resources Per Capita

The total amount of gold ever mined seems to be about 150,000 tons. Wikipedia says it's either 165,000 or 174,100, PIMCO said 155,000, and the goldbugs think it is less due to exaggeration and double counting of paper gold.

Call it 150,000 metric tons. That's 4.8 billion ounces. Only 2/3 of an ounce per person on Earth is the "fair share". So it would be pretty trivial to own a multiple of your fair share of gold. Incredibly little per person!

There are about 12 million square miles (8 billion acres) of arable land in the world. That's just over one acre per person. The U.S. has about a million square miles, or 640 million acres, of arable land, which is just over two acres per person.

M1 money supply is about $8,000 per person in the U.S. and M2 is $30,000. Try getting $30,000 in cash from a small bank branch someday.

If oil reserves are 1.5T barrels (generous) than the amount per person is 250 barrels. You could buy that for the price of a decent car. The deliverable on an oil futures contract is 1,000 barrels and the initial margin for that contract is only $4500!

There's only one cow for every three people in the U.S.

What I am getting at is: it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to own more than your fair share of all of these resources.


CP said...

So, when I wrote this post, M1 money supply was $8,000 per person. Now it's $58,000 eight years later!

M2 was ~$30k, now it's $60k.

CP said...

In 1800, every human on the planet had a corresponding 80 kg of mammal mass in the wild. Wild land mammals outweighed humans in an 80:50 ratio.

Today, each human on the planet can only point to 2.5 kg of wild mammal mass as their “own.”

Let that sink in. You only have 2.5 kg (less than 6 pounds) of wild mammal out there somewhere. A single pet cat or dog generally weighs more. Not that long ago, it was more than you could carry. Now, it seems like hardly anything! I especially fear the implications for mammals should global food distribution be severely crippled.