Anthony Watts: Great Moments in Failed Predictions
In 1865, Stanley Jevons (one of the most recognized 19th century economists) predicted that England would run out of coal by 1900, and that England's factories would grind to a standstill.
In 1885, the US Geological Survey announced that there was "little or no chance" of oil being discovered in California.
In 1891, it said the same thing about Kansas and Texas. (See Osterfeld, David. Prosperity Versus Planning : How Government Stifles Economic Growth. New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.)
In 1939 the US Department of the Interior said that American oil supplies would last only another 13 years.
1944 federal government review predicted that by now the US would have exhausted its reserves of 21 of 41 commodities it examined. Among them were tin, nickel, zinc, lead and manganese.
In 1949 the Secretary of the Interior announced that the end of US oil was in sight.
In 1952 the US President's Materials Policy Commission concluded that by the mid-1970s copper production in the US could not exceed 800,000 tons and that lead production would be at most 300,000 tons per year.
They get better...
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