Looking at the stock market the last few days, I have little doubt, however naive, that the professional profiteers earn their keep by keying on sudden drops in valuation. I usually hear it referred to as "profit taking". The amateur investors chug along the upslope and earn money gradually over the long term, but never respond quickly enough to the "market correction dips" and so predictably and routinely contribute to the transfer of wealth from the hoi polloi to the oilogopoly.
Since the investor class has virtually invented this collapsing Ponzi scheme to making money (perhaps more properly extracting money), it would not surprise me if resource consumption, when left to purely market forces, follows this same profile. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on you point of view, the collapse can only happen once.
I modeled this previously in an oil depletion context; looking back it essentially demonstrates that given powerful enough extractive techniques, big oil may just create the biggest, longest Ponzi scheme ever encountered. With but one twist. The rebound can't depend on the sucker class getting lured back in, because oil molecules don't have gullibility genes. It will end in The Overshoot Point and we will, for the long term, have to get use to different levels of productivity and sustainability.
The oil companies will eventually run out of petrol, but by that time, they will own everything in site from earlier bubble bursting exercises, the cashout from Wall Street earnings into hard currencies providing all the leverage necessary.
First ketchup as a vegetable, then trees polluting and now CO2 as a miracle gas.
A couple of know-it-alls, John Stossel and Peter Huber, engage in a mutual admiration videoclip here, as they discuss a rosy oil-rich future. For some reason, this preposterously absurd quote from Star Trek seems fitting:
Daystrom:"Twenty years of groping to prove the things I'd done before were not accidents... seminars and lectures to rows of fools who couldn't begin to understand my systems... colleagues, laughing behind my back at the 'Boy Wonder' and becoming famous, building on my work -- building on my work!"Stossel: libertarian wonder boy.
Bones: "Jim, he's on the edge of a nervous breakdown, if not insanity."