Monday, January 10, 2011

A Plimer footnote

Professor Ian Plimer has not been averse in the past to pontificating on areas in which he is not qualified, such as economics in 1985:

Inflation is not expected to disappear and hence gold will remain and important component of investment portfolios. Any rapid increase in price would cause gold to be dishoarded and adversely affect industrial demand. As a result, the price would stabilise. Therefore, gold mines look good business in the coming uncertain years.

He also predicted:

Some projections suggest by the period 1995 to 2000, the USSR will produce more gold than South Africa South Africa is the biggest world producer of gold, chromium, vanadium, diamonds and platinoids, with the USSR being the seconde biggest producer for each of these essential commodities.

How wrong can you be? In 2000 Russia (not the USSR) was a distant sixth in world production, producing only 5.5% of the world's gold. In 2010 China was the largest producer, a country not even mentioned by Professor Plimer.

Spot the fossil


  1. Me thinks you doth cherry pick too much!

    If you are going to criticize a report of a speech by Prof Plimer given 25 years ago, lets look at the facts to test his credentials to make economic predictions. Inflation is still with us. Nothing incorrect about that. The gold price was relatively stable for the next 15 years during a rapid increase in output as suggested by Plimer and and has shown steady growth over the last decade only when production began to decrease. Again, as suggested by his comments. So his point about making money in gold mining was spot on. Clearly he was not the only one who thought gold mining was good business given the 60% rise in production over the 15 years after his speech.

    The report on his speech (not a verbatim record) does not attribute exactly who was making the "some projections" 10 to 15 years into the future so in fact your comments on that point are incorrect.

    In any event, South African production has been in steady decline for the last 40 years including the last 25 after the projection. So the unattributed projection was at the very least half right. Add back production of Russia and all former members of USSR and the projections were closer that you infer. If anything, "someone" failed to gaze into the crystal ball and predict the influence of the politics of the break up of the USSR or the economic emergence of China as both a major producer and consumer. Add to that, the new production by other countries driven by an increased price and there are a few factors of uncertainty unknowable in 1985.

    But he was right about the price ( demand and the investment potential. Clearly a much better long term result that say a real Climate Scientist's prediction of "ice free by 2012"

    So really, you have absolutely failed to make your point wrt Plimer. You appear to have shot yourself in your footnote! I would say you have totally pwned yourself! For that Sir, I congratulate you.

  2. @Anonymous: if you're not already a member of the WA Skeptics you have all the qualifications for it.

    EoR mentioned Plimer's prediction (or is it "someone else" who you are defending — EoR isn't quite clear) about inflation and gold in this very post. It's right there. Up above. Perhaps you didn't see it. So much for 'cherry picking'. As well as linking to the full report.

    Ha! Ha! "Half right". Is that like "half wrong"?

    You don't address the main point. Or do you consider Plimer a prognosticator of economic outcomes, as well as a superb vulcanologist, and an excellent climatologist?

    You are also rather mistaken in believing EoR is a Knight.

  3. Wow - name calling up front. Clearly you believe that anyone who disputes your flawed opinion must be immediately branded a Skeptic. Congratulations - classic response! I don't suppose it occurred to you that my comment demonstrated why your opinion failed to be substantiated by your extracts or the links themselves. I could also attribute that attitude to you being qualified to being a "climate scientist" but clearly your non de plume suggests that you are just a ass.

  4. EoR apologises for calling you a skeptic. Clearly you are not. He also appreciates that you would never stoop so low as to call someone names.

  5. Oh - I am a skeptic! Of many things, including Nigerian Princes, chain emails promising great wealth or great peril, or bold pronouncements of excessive certainty on subjects undeserving of such. Some of those things keep me employed and some of those things I carry as lifetime liability. Both gift and burden.

    It is said that Doctors bury their mistakes. Engineers are buried by theirs.

    It is just that your rapid leap to that point so early in the discourse was in my opinion, unwarranted. Sadly, I am not above name calling but (having read the same bedtime story once too often for it to be endearing) a small step from EoR to ass was too tempting to pass.


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