Richard Mills's Contributions

U.S. Power Supply Will be Impacted by Water Shortages

Electricity enables our modern life style - the degree of dependency we have built into our lives in regards to “power on demand” has raised expectations that plentiful electricity will be available to us 24/7.

Water, Endangered Global Resource

Our groundwater is being used up at record rates and claims to ownership are becoming increasingly contentious. It won't be long before the first water war begins.

Food Report: One Harvest Away from a Catastrophe

Because of the worst drought since 1988 the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a federal disaster area in almost one-third of all the counties in the United States - more than 1,300 counties covering 29 states, the largest disaster declaration ever made by the USDA.

Six Percent Can Draw Gold from the Moon

At the start of golden ages golden stories should be told. Following many years of net annual sales in the 400 to 500 tonne range, central banks, underweighted in gold and overweight in dollars and euro’s, became net buyers of gold in 2009 - in 2002 central banks sold 545 tonnes of gold, in 2011 they bought 440 tonnes.

Sweat of the Sun, A Gift From the Magi

The Greeks would not accept the electrum coins in trade so the coins were outlawed by King Croesus (560-546 B.C.) and gold or silver coins were issued. When the Lydians were captured by the Persians in 546 B.C., the use of gold coins began to spread.

Ignorance Is a Temporary Condition

In the early 1970s a nationwide electronic funds transfer system was envisioned. The system would use individualized electronic identification cards and digitized bank accounts with merchants connected to them by telecommunication links.

Resource Scarcity and Population Growth

Once in a long while we as investors are given a glimpse, a window into the future. How can there be any doubt that access to clean fresh water for drinking, sanitation and crop irrigation is going to become the one overriding concern for billions of people?

When Gold Becomes Tier 1 Capital

Institutional investors tend to prefer investments that are thought to contain the potential for growth, growth = sprouts. An investment has to produce a growing revenue stream - if it doesn’t grow it doesn’t compound. Gold is rejected as an investment because it doesn’t produce sprouts, meaning the steady income and systematic growth so sought after by institutional investors just isn’t there.

Silver Eagles Soar

United States Mint Authorized Purchasers (AP’s) ordered 3,197,000 Bullion American Silver Eagle Coins on January 3rd, the first day they went on sale. That opening day total catapulted January Bullion Eagle sales higher than half of the monthly totals in 2011.

Of Jobs, Debts and Budgets

Consumer confidence spiked last December. Gas prices were lower for the third straight month, a mild winter has meant that many consumers paid less to heat their houses, the auto sector posted another strong month, consumers spent more on recreation and demand for student loans increased.

A Coming Great Global Angst

Our agriculture system is concentrated on producing a very few staple crops - there is a very serious lack of crop diversity. Corn, wheat, rice and soy are the main staples and production is oftentimes half a world away from where the majority of the crop would be consumed. The world’s extreme poor exist almost exclusively on what is a ‘buy today, eat today’ plant based diet - wheat, corn, soy or rice provide the bulk of their calories.

Black Swans, Food Shortages, and Social Unrest

Population growth and increasing demand for food supplies go hand in hand. Unfortunately yield increases have generally leveled off and supply is barely keeping up with demand. The fact is, that today, we’re one poor harvest, one Black Swan event away from a food supply catastrophe and a repeat of the food shortages that caused the Arab Spring.

Admit Nothing, Explain Nothing

The Federal Reserve was conceived and given birth by an unholy alliance of American and British bankers. The FED buys U.S. debt with money printed from nothing, then charges U.S. taxpayers interest. The US government pushed through the federal income tax amendment, restarted an income tax on Americans to pay the interest to the FED and reorganized the IRS to collect the monies – the interest - “owed” to the FED from its citizens.

Stock Buy Back Programs

The two most common methods used by companies to return "excess" cash to their shareholders are dividends and stock buybacks – stock buybacks are currently favored. S&P Indices data shows 305 S&P 500 companies purchased their shares in the first quarter of 2011 – at a cost of $89.8 billion.

Global Trade and the Yuan

BCG Consulting says China is expected to become the world's second largest consumer market by 2015 and by 2020 China’s consumer consumption nation-wide will amount to 22 percent of total global consumption, behind only the U.S. at 35 percent.

United States vs. China Round Two

The Chinese government, in an effort to maximize exports and minimize US imports, prints their Yuan to buy dollars. This prevents their currency from rising and the dollar from falling. Then it loans those same dollars back to America by buying US debt.

The Politics of Personal Destruction

The Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act and retaliatory tariffs in other countries did exacerbate the collapse in global trade, but foreign trade was just a small part of overall US economic activity and originated from, mostly, the agricultural and resource extraction (mining, logging) sectors.

Criticality is in the Eye of the Beholder

The Earth's climate has been continuously changing throughout its history. From ice covering large amounts of the globe to interglacial periods where there was ice only at the poles - our climate and biosphere have been in flux for millennia.

Nuclear Free Germany Faces Major Energy Challenges

The elimination of domestic nuclear sources of energy means Germany will simply have to import more electricity from abroad – either in the form of nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic, coal from Poland or natural gas from Russia. Going down this path has consequences that reach far beyond Germany’s borders.

Brine Mining the Puna for Potash and Lithium

The Puna plateau sits at an elevation of 4,000m, stretches for 1800 km along the Central Andes and attains a width of 350–400 km. The Puna covers a portion of Argentina, Chile and Bolivia and hosts an estimated 70 - 80% of global lithium brine reserves.

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