Scarcity Rent and Olivine

Part 47 of my third global warming science fiction novel “Last Week”. Link to Part 1: “Back To Paradise Era”.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21 2023 1:12 P.M.

“So, this is my last day. If you’re right, I mean. I’m still not completely convinced.”

“Of course I’m right. You’ll wake up tomorrow morning as Thusnelda Sneeze. Princess Angel from the 24th Century will be only a pleasant memory,” Satoshi said.

“I can’t believe it. I really can’t. But let’s just assume you’re right for a moment. That means today is my last chance to write as Princess Angel on my blog. Let’s give humanity a couple of last hints.”

Angel navigated to the dashboard of the Angel_2323 blog and started typing.

“Hello humanity. I hear from Satoshi that the first couple of trillion dollars for the Buy&Hoard fund are scheduled to come in from institutional investors. Many thanks from me to the Norwegian Prime Minister and to Saudi Arabia for getting the ball rolling. And Satoshi even called the fund the ’24th Century Princess Angel Fund’, which is very sweet of him.

“I’ll be dead tomorrow.

“I realize that I’ve said that before last Monday. And I was wrong at the time. But this time it’s real. There will be no Princess Angel from the 24th Century come tomorrow.

“I’ve already basically finished my mission last Monday. I warned you how horrible the global warming crisis will play out. I warned you of the Moros 27 asteroid. And I told you how to solve these problems. Buy&Hoard.

“But here is one bonus hint. The concept of scarcity rent. It explains why this solution will work.

“Let’s explain this with bitcoins. Bitcoins, like oil, are a finite resource. There will never be more than 21 million bitcoins. There are only about one trillion barrels of oil left in your World of 2023.

“Anybody who sold 10,000 bitcoins for a pizza or something in 2010 would have been well advised to just sit on those coins for about a decade. At present prices those bitcoins are worth more than a billion dollars.

“Anybody who sold bitcoins at rock bottom prices of under one hundred dollars in 2013 would have been well advised to just sit on them for another decade and see their value go up by a factor of over one thousand.

“My friend Satoshi Nakamoto is the World’s richest person. The reason for that is that he bought a lot of bitcoins when they were cheap, and kept most of them. It’s very easy to understand.

“Exactly the same dynamic will work with fossil fuel. Basically, it’s a finite resource. That’s true even if you believe that there’s nothing wrong with using the atmosphere as an open sewer for CO2. It takes millions of years to form the fossil fuel that humanity is burning in just one year. Eventually, the stuff will run out. And before it runs out, it will go up in price.

“There is a name for this, and it’s called ‘scarcity rent’. If you own a finite resource that is guaranteed to go up in price, it makes more sense to hold it than to sell it and invest the profits in some other way.

“A lot of people will get very rich from investing in the 24th Century Princess Angel Fund. That’s especially true for those people investing in an early stage. Exactly like with bitcoins. Save the World, and become rich in the process.”

Angel hit the publish button.

“That was of course already obvious. There was no need to point it out any more. But it would be a shame to waste my opportunity for some more last words. It adds a bit of drama to the whole concept.”

“It sure does. And it actually is true. This is your last day as Princess Angel. I hope you enjoy it. Actually, I’d have some ideas on helping you enjoy it some more. And they don’t involve getting lost while you get knocked out with sleeping pills,” Satoshi said.

“Sounds good to me,” Angel said. “But I’ll do one more last post on another technical point. It’s also somewhat of interest.”

She started typing again.

“Hi humanity. This will be my last post on this blog. It really will be. If I turn out to be wrong again and I’m not dead tomorrow, I’ll just hide in shame. But I’m afraid I’m right this time.

“This point is also not really necessary. You would figure it out anyway, once Buy&Hoard gets up to the necessary scale. It’s somewhat technical. But while I have the chance, I’ll give you this last bonus information.

“The point is: You don’t need to keep all the fossil fuel you hoard in the 24th Century Princess Angel Fund. You can sell part of it, as long as it isn’t used as fuel.

“Let’s explain this for oil.

“Right now about ten percent of oil is used as feedstock for the petrochemical industry. There is nothing wrong with that. No CO2 will be emitted to the atmosphere from making some plastic, if you source the necessary process energy from wind and solar.

“You can keep selling oil for that purpose.

“Of course that leaves you with the problem of what to do with the waste you can’t use. All those outputs of the refining process that used to be useful fuel products, like gasoline, diesel, kerosene, heating oil, and fuel grade petroleum coke. Refining a barrel of oil to get at the valuable feedstock will leave you with gasoline, which is a dangerous waste product that needs a method of safe disposal.

“There are basically two ways of dealing with this dangerous waste disposal issue.

“For one, it may be possible to use gasoline safely as a feedstock for petrochemical products. Once the need to do so becomes clear, research into that matter may turn up with a solution.

“The other way to deal with that dangerous waste is to just burn the gasoline, capture the CO2, and dispose of the CO2 safely.

“It is a well known fact that weathering olivine is a safe solution for disposing of CO2. If such a safe solution is available, disposing of the dangerous waste products like gasoline would be no particular problem.

“Note that the incentive to get there is higher as oil prices rise.

“Anyway, these are rather technical details. You’ll be able to figure them out.

“So, this is it. Have fun getting rich investing in the 24th Century Princess Angel Fund, and saving the World in the process. And don’t forget about the asteroid threat.


Angel hit the publish button again.

“Now, what was that about your ideas for having some fun while spending the rest of my life?”

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

One thought on “Scarcity Rent and Olivine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: