Are We Running Out of Resources?

Prof. Steve Horwitz addresses the common belief that the world is running out of natural resources. Instead, there are economic reasons why we will never run out of many resources. In a free market system, prices signal scarcity. So as a resource becomes more scarce, it becomes more expensive, which incentivizes people to use less of it and develop new alternatives, or to find new reserves of that resource that were previously unknown or unprofitable. We have seen throughout history that the human mind’s ability to innovate, coupled with a free market economic system, is an unlimited resource that can overcome the limitations we perceive with natural resources.

14 Comments

  1. Matt Wavle

    We evolve around resources that get way too expensive, or we find better ways to come by them.  There’s enough sunlight to power the whole country, we will harness that too when the need arises. 

  2. taschrant

    That was such an awesome video!  I remember watching this one Penn & Teller BS episode about recycling.  They made an interesting point wasting paper and how it destroys trees.  The funny thing is (and I was even guilty of it) that people think that resources come from virgin resources.  What they don’t realize is that we have farms that produce trees that produce paper.  It isn’t all just pure deforestation.  What are your thoughts?

  3. Matt Wavle

    We’re discovering more of the same resources than we ever thought we had, such as oil in the Dakotas.  No one back when copper was first used to carry voice or telegraph would have ever guessed that we could use SAND in the form of fiber optics to do the same thing, only better and faster.

  4. Keith Knight

    Collective economies never run out of resources because they never use any and their people are impoverished!

  5. supersonicsixteen

    Environmental costs seem to be greater to those who are surrounded by that environment.  It seems that the consequences are somewhat detached.  

Leave a Reply