In a disturbing piece titled How Hunger Could Topple Regimes, Time magazine comments:
World Bank president Robert Zoellick noted last week that world food prices had risen 80% over the past three years, and warned that at least 33 countries face social unrest as a result.
This is a reminder that the biofuels strategy can’t be answer if demand keeps growing. Substitution of renewable resources for fossil resources is a step in the right direction, but insufficient in itself. The real leverage will be in redesign of systems to meet growing human needs with ever less stuff.
The technical challenges of radical resource efficiency are hard enough, but they’re tractable — moreso if we look not just at things, but their interaction in systems, and systems of systems (challenging enough in an investment world focused on IP).
The real hard part will be inventing business models that profit from decoupling and dematerialization.