Investing in the Future

Ever since the Reagan / Thatcher era in the 1980s more and more people have started buying and selling stocks, or shares as they are called in the U.K. Rewards can be great but you can also lose all your money.

When I was growing up, my parents bought shares in utility companies and other nationalized industries that were privatized – British Water, British Gas, British Airways to name but a few. These were sure fire winners in the economic climate of the time. You simply applied for your allotted number of shares and then got a share trader to sell them on the day of issue. The profits were modest, but to a middle-class family it seemed to be money for nothing.

Now all the crown jewels are gone. The present Tory Party in the UK is trying to privatize any remaining government concerns. I wouldn’t recommend these latest offerings: as I said, all the best concerns have long gone.

When I was at University some of my friends had success with buying and selling shares in companies with new technology. My friends were often the victims of their own success: as with any form of gambling, beginners luck encourages people to foolishly think they have the Midas touch. As a result, they end up investing too much and eventually getting burned by a sudden downturn in the economy.

It seems to me that the best gambles are those based on information about the future. Let me explain. What is going to be valuable in the future? The World’s population is set to double in the next 50 years. The result is going to be a shortage of natural resources such as food and clean water.

Already 66% of the world’s fresh water supplies are spent on irrigation. 1.3 billion People in the world lack access to clean water supplies. Already many parts of the world are water stressed. In the US, according to the National Climate Center, 43% of the country is suffering ‘moderate to extreme drought’. Did you know that it takes 140 liters of water to make 1 cup of coffee? Consumer culture is using up water supplies at a frightening rate.

My recommendation for buying stocks is simple: water is going to be the new ‘oil’. Investing in companies that are making technology to recycle water, to use grey water and to desalinate sea water will produce a healthy long term profit. Also companies that make low flow shower heads and low flow faucet aerators for the home will boom in the future. When water prices go up and up, people will be forced to change their patterns of consumption and will buy water conservation technology.

They say that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I would add a third item to that list and that is consumption. As humanity consumes the world’s precious resources those who can provide the basics of food and water will be positioned to make huge profits.

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