从石油到信息

沙特阿拉伯前石油部长、OPEC的缔造者之一,Sheikh Yamani曾说:“石器时代的结束并不是因为缺少石头;石油时代的结束也不会是因为缺少石油。”人类停止使用石器是因为青铜和铁是更好的材料。但我们真的会在其它相似能源技术能提供更好的能源时停止使用石油吗?

自从1970年代的石油危机以来,世界稀缺能源耗尽的威胁就是大众心中挥之不去的梦魇。我们的恐惧也不仅限于石油。例如,1972年出版的经典畅销书《增长的极限》就预言世界会在1981年耗尽金,在1985年耗尽银和汞,在1990年耗尽锌资源。虽然我们现今有了后见之明,但即便是现在有关这些问题的大多数讨论还是在“增长的极限”的逻辑下进行预测的。

此外,问题不仅仅是我们还没有耗尽自然资源。据称美国经济学家Julian Simon在1980年向一群环境保护主义者发出挑战,说如果稀缺性是以更高的价格来衡量,那么他们就应该在任何与生金属有关的股票上投资。环境主义者们将资金投入到铬、铜、镍、锡和钨等金属的股票上,投资为期十年。到了1990年,所有这些金属都跌价了:铬跌了5%,锡更是大跌了74%。

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