The Economist reports a rebasing of its 160-year old commodity-price index. Chinese demand has lately burst on the scene but the bottom line is still that commodity prices are now at 30% of their 1845 index value. This is literally through thick and thin, including population expansion from approximately 1.5 billion to near 6.5 billion, most of them consuming appreciably more (and longer) than their great-great grandparents.
Cause and effect are always tough calls. Yet, the economic explanations offered by Julian Simon and others look much better than anything else on the horizon.
In the U.S., the pessimists write most of the books but the optimists win most of the elections.