Leave it to the scientifically-minded among us to solve the world’s
economic crisis. All it takes is an understanding of the
At this point, there is little doubt that a serious economic crisis
awaits the people of planet Earth.
In the aftermath of a long credit-driven boom, it
would not be surprising to see turmoil in financial markets, slowing
real growth and temporarily rising inflation. The crucial questions at
the present juncture have to do with the severity of these individual
trends as they now appear and how they might interact. While difficult
to predict, their interaction does appear to point to a deeper and more
protracted global downturn than the consensus view seems to expect.
Discussing “difficult task of damage control,” the best they can come
up with is:
Perhaps the principal conclusion to be drawn from
today’s policy challenges is that it would have been better to avoid
the build-up of credit excesses in the first place.
I think we all can agree on that, but it leaves us wondering what to do
The clue is found elsewhere
in the report:
It said: “Historians would recall the long recession
beginning in 1873, the global downturn that began in the late 1920s,
and the Japanese and Asian crises of the early and late 1990s
” In each episode, a long period of strong credit growth coincided with
an increasingly euphoric upturn in both the real economy and financial
markets, followed by an unexpected crisis and extended downturn.
“In virtually every instance, some form of new economic discovery or
new financial development provided a further ‘new era’ justification
for rapid credit expansion, and predictably became a focus for blame in
Clearly, what we need now is some form of new economic discovery, upon
which to base an economic revival. This is where the science
On 15 May 2000, Fortune Magazine declared
“H2O will be to the 21st century what oil
was to the 20th” They pointed out that privatization of water
was the new trend, and it promised to be big business. After
all, everyone needs water.
But that is really small potatoes, and it is a market that already is
fairly developed. What we need is an entirely new
market, a market that promises to hand control of life itself
to just a handful of multinational companies. That,
historically, has been the only thing that truly gets an economy going.
The Bank for International Settlements should open a market to auction
the rights for, you guessed it: air. Or, more specifically,
There is a precedent for this. In the USA, in many places,
the rights for subsurface minerals are sold separately from the surface
rights. That is, you can own a plot of land, while not owning
the oil under that land. All we need to do, is to separate
the suprasurface rights from the surface rights.
Corporations then could bid on the rights to the oxygen in various
parts of the world. There are 1.1776
x 1018 kilograms of oxygen in the
atmosphere. So it is a big market. Bigger than
gold, that’s for sure. Like gold, the oxygen rights could be
used as collateral. This would free up the credit market,
enabling new investment, creation of jobs, and a rising standard of
living for everyone…as long as they could pay for the right to
Certain areas could be set aside as free-air zones, and could be used
to house those who are unable to pay for their air. The area around
Crawford, Texas, might serve well for this purpose.
It would be capitalism’s finest hour.