Unlimited Resources


See reports/essays below this introduction.

To preface this section of reports on unlimited resources let me offer a few quotes from Matt Ridley (The Rational Optimist) on the root source of unlimited resources- human ingenuity.

Ridley says, “The most fundamental feature of the modern world since 1800- more profound than flight, radio, nuclear weapons or websites, more momentous than science, health, or material well-being- has been the continuing discovery of ‘increasing returns’ so rapid that they outpaced even the population explosion…The more you prosper, the more you can prosper. The more you invent, the more inventions become possible…The world of things…is indeed often subject to diminishing returns. But the world of ideas is not. The  more knowledge you generate, the more you can generate. And the engine that is driving prosperity in the modern world is the accelerating generation of useful knowledge…The dissemination of useful knowledge causes that useful knowledge to breed more useful knowledge….The wonderful thing about knowledge is that it is genuinely limitless. There is not even a theoretical possibility of exhausting the supply of ideas, discoveries, and inventions…It is a beautiful feature of information systems that they are far vaster than physical systems: the combinatorial vastness of the universe of possible ideas dwarfs the puny universe of physical things…(the well-known Limits to Growth report of the 1970s) underestimated the speed and magnitude of technological change, the generation of new recipes for rearranging the world…the amount of oil left, the food-growing capacity of the world’s farmland, even the regenerative capacity of the biosphere- these are not fixed numbers; they are dynamic variables produced by a constant negotiation between human ingenuity and natural constraints…We now know …that more than six billion people can live upon the planet in improving health, food security and life expectancy and that this is compatible with cleaner air, increasing forest cover and some booming populations of elephants”.

The key concept above that exposes the fallacy of limits thinking (that there are strict limits to such things as natural resources or energy supplies) is this: “The combinatorial vastness of the universe of possible ideas dwarfs the puny universe of physical things“. Physicist Freeman Dyson stated is this way- that the imaginative human mind opened up possibilities that are “infinite in all directions”. The inventive human mind is the Ultimate Resource (Julian Simon) that frees humanity from all potential physical resource limitations. The human mind can dream up and produce infinite possible combinations of atoms, molecules, manufactured things, all sorts of new inventions, useful new procedures, new sources of energy, solutions to all problems and apparent resource limits, and on and endlessly on. And this process of insight, imagination, discovery, production, progress, and advance is endless and infinite in all directions. We are always just beginning in the movement toward a better and more abundant future.

The running out of resources myth
World Forests
World Fisheries
World Agricultural Land
Fertilizer facts
The Bottomless Well
Limits? What limits?
Shale Gas’s Wow! Moment http://www.nohotair.co.uk/2011/63/1876-shale-gass-wow-moment.html
Abundant energy will power future growth
Liberate US oil
Shale Gas Revolution Changes Everything
The Shale Gas Shock Matt Ridley
The Growing Abundance of Natural Resources

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