Some time this year, there will be 7 billion people on the planet. If we all stood shoulder-to-shoulder, we would fit inside the city of Los Angeles.
National Geographic just kicked off its year-long series dedicated to this global milestone. Check out this video.
According to National Geographic, no human had lived through a doubling of the human population before the 20th Century. Now, there are people on this planet who have seen it triple. In fact, the world population hasn’t fallen since the Black Death wiped out nearly 60 percent of Europe’s population.
The problem with population isn’t space—we have plenty of it—it’s resources. Nearly 1 billion people go hungry every day and 20 years from now there will be 2 billion more mouths to feed.
If you’re analytical, you can think of it this way—the Earth has a finite number of resources but the demand and use of these resources are the variables. That demand not only depends on the number of people, but how intense their usage is.
Today, usage intensity is picking up in the emerging world—which happens to be home to the majority of the global population. As these people move, for example, from using bicycles to cars, or candles to electricity, the pressure on that finite amount of resources rises.
This, in a nutshell, is why we’re positive on natural resources—the supply of resources is limited while the demand is rising. Daily, monthly and even yearly fluctuations in demand or geopolitical events will cause volatility in prices, but the overall supply/demand fundamentals remain intact, and we believe these fundamentals lead to higher prices for these increasingly rare commodities.
Since this population theme is a cornerstone of the natural resources story, we’ll check back in on the National Geographic series as it progresses.
All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.