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Markets and Resources

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Economists tend to take the view that markets and price mechanisms can more than cope with concerns about resource depletion. Discuss how far you think that they are right. 2006 B With an ever increasing population, concerns about whether or not the world will have enough resources to sustain itself in the future. Many academics, like Simon and Lomborg, often labeled 'technocentric cornucopians' have faith that the markets can ensure an almost infinite supply of resources and are optimistic about the future. To find out what extend the economists are right we need to first look at what a resource is and how markets can influence their supply. A resource is anything that is valuable to and can be used by society. ...read more.


This increase will trigger human ingenuity that will solve the issue in three possible ways. Firstly, the price increase will drive new innovation in technology and ideas. This happened during the 70's oil shock which led to recycling and more efficient advanced methods of drilling. Another way the markets can solve the crisis as society will seek out alternatives, such as a change from coal to oil, or oil to gas. The most recent oil shock along with fears of climate change, has renewed interest in nuclear and alternatives, such as biofuels. Lastly, the increased market price will make it economically possible to extract conditional resources from more marginal areas that were previously uneconomical. ...read more.


Then there is the issue of unpriced goods, such as clean air, tropical forests and glaciers. These resources are currently not priced in the market so polluting them is an economically acceptable practice, yet we need them for our very survival. To this end, the markets can sort out resource concerns regarding those resources for which there are alternatives, such as fossil fuels and resources that can be recycled, such as minerals. However, currently, economic factors alone cannot ensure that our fish stocks, aquifers, tropical rainforests will be available to all in the future. Tropical forests are more valuable cut down than growing, fish stocks are being depleted quicker than ever and ground water deficit reached 160 billion cubic meters. Clearly, relying on market mechanisms alone will be disastrous for our future supply of resources. ...read more.

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