The Energy Report: As a history enthusiast, Porter, to what extent do you believe technology has changed investing?
Porter Stansberry: The future will be unlike the past in every way related to technology, but it will be exactly like the past as it relates to people. Technology changes a great deal, but people don’t. You can count on politicians to be scumbags and most people to be lazy. But as for investing, technology gives far more people access to information. Only one person in the world knew the actual price of a high-yield bond 25 years ago-Michael Milken-and he made a fortune with that information advantage. Today, everybody has access to trading information. Everyone has access to price. In general, technology has made finance a smaller-margin business. It’s led to enormous scale in our financial institutions, which is the only way they can really survive. But fear and greed are still the underlying forces that drive the markets, and investors are just as subject to irrational emotional decisions as they’ve ever been. I don’t expect technology will ever change that.
TER: Getting specifically into energy, a few weeks ago the International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook (WEO) said the U.S. would become the world’s largest oil producer, overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia, before 2020. Then Goldman Sachs said it would happen by 2017.
Porter Stansberry: They stole my thunder. I’ve been saying 2017 for maybe a year now. If Goldman is saying 2017 and IEA is saying 2020 it will probably happen in 2016.