Re: Natural resource limits no big deal

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Tue May 02 2000 - 10:42:17 MDT

Robin Hanson wrote:

> This article estimates that natural resource limits induce us to
> consume 1% less each year than we would if there were no limits.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 114 Issue 2, May 1999, Pages 691-706
> Pricing the Limits to Growth from Minerals Depletion By Martin L. Weitzman
> This paper evaluates the loss of global welfare from exhaustion of
> nonrenewable resources, such as oil. The underlying methodology represents
> an empirical application of some recent developments in the theory of green
> accounting and sustainability. The paper estimates that the world loses the
> equivalent of about 1 percent of final consumption per year from finiteness
> of the earth's resources, compared with a counterfactual trajectory where
> global extraction of minerals is allowed to remain forever constant at
> today's flow rates and extraction costs.

Interesting. Does it look at actual increases in resource utilization efficiency
being the engine for economic growth in developed economies? An interesting
counter argument is that as increasing resource recovery costs rise above that
necessary for profitable exploitation of non-terran resources, actual
exploitation of terran resources will decline at an even greater rate. At that
point, resources are no longer limited.

Is this article available on the web at all?

Mike Lorrey

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