There are no longer enough natural resources to sustain current levels of economic growth. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
For over a century, it has been concerned that there may exist a limit to the Earth’s capacity to support economic growth due to scarcity of its resources. There is a growing consensus that economic sustainability requires more natural capital which subsequently might lead to resource depletion and environmental degradation.
Firstly, continued economic development is negatively seen as a destroyer and corrupter of the natural environment and as a consequence, inadequacy of natural resources. While resource-augmenting technological improvements enhance productivity and result in less resource inputs, it is important to recognize that technology alone cannot be seen as a key to avoiding a resource crisis. It is stressed that extraction of a unit of non-renewable resource damages resource amenities which will ultimately lead to the exhaustion.
In addition, the concept of absolute scarcity still exists because the amount of non-renewable resources available will decline with use. It is agreed that the maintenance of the natural capital stock through waste assimilation and renewable resource regeneration is unlikely to be achievable. The reason for this is that man-made capital is made from and operate on flows of energy and materials which limit substitution possibilities. Moreover, ameliorations in the efficiency of energy and material use can produce an adverse effect that actually increases resource use or waste generation. Also, rising affluence when the economy grows increases the likelihood of causing harmful impacts on the quality of the environment.
In conclusion, even though technological improvements and renewable resource use can partly help to decrease the increasing insufficient resources, these stocks will, by their physical nature, be eventually destined to run out. It is thus expected that government intervention should be designed to restrain over exploitation and that scientific discoveries of new reserves, recovery and recycling of materials could be attainable in the foreseeable future.