We've already mentioned the connection between the stagnation that occurred from the early 1970s onward with the peak in U.S.'s oil production in the lower 48 states in 1970. However, I couldn't help but notice that the peak for the U.S.'s global share of nominal GDP occurred in the same year that the U.S. officially became a [link=http://www.nytimes.com/1985/09/17/business/us-turns-into-debtor-nation.html]debtor nation[/link]. In addition, our peak in global GDP in terms of PPP seems to have taken place almost exactly at the start of the current commodities bull market. In fairness, it should be pointed out that being a debtor nation is not always bad. The U.S. built itself up during the 19th century by borrowing from abroad. The essential criteria for determining whether or not debt is "good debt" or "bad debt" is to see what is was invested in. As long as you borrow to soundly invest in productive capacity, there is no problem. One also cannot discuss the 1999 peak without mentioning the climax of the tech bubble. I suspect that one of the big trade-offs we've experienced due to the monetary authorities flooding the world with cheap money and driving down interest rates in response to the 2001 recession has been to exacerbate the rise in commodity prices resulting from global supply constraints. We've been fortunate thus far to have not seen high commodity prices spill over into consumer prices. While it is true that food and energy prices have skyrocketed in the past ten or twelve years, a large portion of the the consumer basket, as measured by the bureau of labor statistics, has not been impacted to the same degree. To illustrate this point further, take a look at this chart: [link=http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/fredgraph.png?&chart_type=line&graph_id=&category_id=&recession_bars=On&width=630&height=378&bgcolor=%23B3CDE7&graph_bgcolor=%23FFFFFF&txtcolor=%23000000&ts=8&preserve_ratio=true&fo=ve&id=CPIAUCNS,PPIACO&transformation=lin,lin&scale=Left,Left&range=Max,Max&cosd=1913-01-01,1913-01-01&coed=2011-01-01,2011-01-01&line_color=%230000FF,%23FF0000&link_values=,&mark_type=NONE,NONE&mw=4,4&line_style=Solid,Solid&lw=1,1&vintage_date=2011-03-09,2011-03-09&revision_date=2011-03-09,2011-03-09&mma=0,0&nd=,&ost=,&oet=,&fml=a,a&fq=Monthly,Monthly&fam=avg,avg&fgst=lin,lin]chart[/link] You'll notice that the U.S. received a windfall through the 1980s and 90s of cheap commodities which allowed for an unprecedented debt explosion for households, state governments, federal governments, and corporations without having to deal with typical fallout of inflation. The large spread between the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index allowed for both good profit margins and lower rates of inflation. Former Federal Reserve Chairman, Paul Volcker, deserves enormous credit for making the tough choices needed to wring inflation out of the system during his tenure. However, a large part is also due to the initiation of a long-term commodities bear market circa 1982. One of the things that I'm sure you're as concerned about as I am, Jabba, is the narrowing of that spread in recent years.