This paper discusses the political economy of resource sustainability. Energy sustainability is not feasible without resource sustainability and both need financial sustainability by 2030 in an environment that evolves steadily toward global political sustainability, in a generation from now (upcoming book Sustainability: In Theory and Practice by Chandrashekar Tamirisa, also see permalink).
(The above map is missing some resource distribution but is a useful approximation for the purposes of illustration. More accurate data is available from United States Geological Service, National Geospatial Intelligence and Google Earth’s Mineral Resources Data System)
3% of the world’s population in Russia, Canada and Australia hold a majority of the most important minerals needed for the well-being of humanity through 2050.
One billion people, 14 per cent of the world’s population, live in 5 advanced (industrialized) countries and in one emerging regional/continental bloc: United States of America (US), Russian Federation, Canada, European Union (EU) and Australia. The remaining 6 billion, 86%, live far less well-off lives.
Of the 14 per cent, about 800 million in US and EU economies constituting one-half of the global economic output (about $30 trillion) are not reliant on exporting their stock of resources. Their economies conserve domestic resources and import from less developed countries in Africa, and from Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Canada.
If the diversity of mineral wealth is taken into account, EU, India’s projected 1.5 billion by 2050 and Africa are richer than US, without the need to either import or export resources. EU’s population growth rate is stable or in decline at 0.212%.
Removing EU, India and Africa from the mix, and assuming a net zero migration rate into Russia, about 6% of the remaining world’s population in Russia, Canada and Australia holds about 70% of the remaining world’s resources, with the Russian population in decline at ;-0.48% looking to 2050.
The above chart speaks for itself looking ahead 100 years at the current rate of resource depletion without sustainability and at a population of about 15 billion in 2100 at the current growth rate of 1.096%. The chart, however, will benefit from a breakdown of typically used resources in advanced economies at the present time and a projection of how the resource inputs will change in future economic structures with and without better recycling technologies.
To live just as well as each other, all 9-10 billion by 2050, including the 1.5 billion Chinese people in the world’s largest economy by 2016 in purchasing power parity terms, need the same resources and the technologies to process the resources ever more efficiently over time.
Any resources under the Arctic circle, in Antarctica and the cold and hot deserts of the world, similar to extra-terrestrial resources, could be better accessible with climate change (which will continue to occur with or without energy sustainability) and, therefore, are not material for geopolitical analysis at the moment.
The self-evident geopolitical nature of the resource crunch for 97% to 84% of humanity who make the earth their home requires that our sustainability framework be fully adopted by 2030, in a generation from now, without which United States, China and the burgeoning muslim populations in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Asia will determine the balance between the next major global conflict and peace (population and economy data has been obtained by the author from the CIA World Fact Book, a public source) or nigh is the end of days.
(Source Analysis: Sustainability, Chandrashekar Tamirisa Common Era, LLC Washington, DC)
By 2050, of the 9-10 billion in the world, 600 million or 6% of European descent in the Russian Federation, Australia, Canada, United States and European Union will lay claim to 70% of the world’s resources, will be comprehensively sustainable and in absolute control of the planet.
Losers will be Africa and the world’s muslims, exhausted of resources and the world neocolonized by the 6% of European descent (West) thereafter, having foresaken the more populous markets in preference for low or no immigration to their countries and conservation of domestic resources through sustainability and resource imports from Middle East and Africa.
The price of acquring technology without innovation for the remaining 94% of the world will be loss of sovereignty, the West protecting itself with modernized defenses including nuclear.
Those in control since the Renaissance 600 years ago have a choice: either a global and equitable rules-based framework is put into place now for peaceful global integration or the minority 6% will lose it all in their death and destruction to the majority 94% after 2050.