Stuart Staniford over at Oil Drum offers some predictions for 2006 that are worth reading. I think he really lost his nerve here, though:
Civilization Collapse, Rapture, Alien invasion, etc.
I estimate the probability of any of these events in 2006 as being negligibly small.
More willing to predict The End, as always, is the indefatigable Jim Kunstler, who thinks 2006 …
… will be the year that the hardships and difficulties I lump together as The Long Emergency get some serious traction.
Overall I expect to see $100-a-barrel oil at some point this year. Last year I made a bet with a friend that oil would end 2005 at $75. I lost the bet. But it is a fact that the price of oil altogether ended the year 40 percent higher than 2004, so it is not as if the markets did not show extraordinary stress.
Uh, that sounds bad.
So I will predict gasoline breaking through the $4-a-gallon mark sometime this year.
I’ll predict that methane gas prices will spike above $20 sometime before May.
High gasoline, heating oil, and methane gas prices will absolutely kill the housing bubble for reasons I’ve already outlined.
With the cratering of the housing bubble, the US economy has to fall on its ass. The global economy is likely to fall on its ass, too, since so much of it depends on the decisions of Americans to take out exotic loans for buying houses they can’t afford.
I’d called for a Dow-4000 late in 2005. I think that was just an error in timing, and still call for the Dow to sink into that range, or worse, in 2006.
[Shoves money under mattress]
I would predict an episode something short of hyperinflation — say a rapid 30 percent drop in dollar value — with a later deflation in the price of things like houses, paintings by Childe Hassam, and many consumer goods. …
The commercial airline industry is already whirling around the drain. 2006 will send it decisively down that drain. …
By similar reasoning, I see an excellent chance for General Motors and Ford to go out of business in 2006. …
Sooner or later, China eventually will go cuckoo from a shortage of fossil fuels.
Okay, but let’s not get all conspiratorial or anything:
But here I invoke my allergy to conspiracy theories by saying I do not necessarily expect any US or Israeli strikes against [Iran].
Kunstler basically lost all credibility with me when he defended Bush’s illegal domestic spying. Zealots, no matter their purported ideological alignment, always have a soft spot for authoritarianism.
But I guess we can just check back on this list this in Jan. ’07. If we’re still here …