July 04 2011

Resource Scarcity and War: How They Relate

Why do wars happen? War takes place and can happen for a number of reasons. Some of the reasons may include – search for state power like in the case of WWI and WWII, religious differences (Roman Crusades, Inquisition, Israel-Palestine), land disputes (the Balkans), symbolism (the Cold War), etcetera. Natural Resources, however, are so vital to all people that they are inevitably the most prevalent motivator of war.

Maximizing the amount and variety of natural resources minimizes the dependence of that country on other countries for resources. Natural resources provide economic versatility and political autonomy. This, in turn, eliminates subservience and deincentivizes dominance. Unfortunately, the inverse condition produces the inverse result.

A country lacking economic versatility will begin to rely on others to fulfill its needs. Ironically though, the more resources a country relies on others to produce, the less it can rely on itself. This leaves the system both weak and vulnerable, forcing it to develop a military that can secure resources outside its borders for fear of losing its autonomy altogether.

Now, let’s look at the converse. Imagine a country that has, through engineering, progressed production to the point that goods are essentially unlimited. And/or it has used landscape architecture to make its built environment much more efficient and friendly. It is a situation where political autonomy AND economic versatility would thrive.

This is the goal of sustainability – to make goods unlimited. Unfortunately, the word sustainability has many negative political connotations (in America), especially with people who are fans of the free market. To them, sustainability is a hindrance to economic freedom. It is anything but as I have explained above.

It would also be cheaper if it were given the same subsidies that oil and other Exxon Mobil techs were given. Money aside, though, a world with unlimited resources would certainly mark  the end to starvation, it would provide medical care to the masses, and allow all to have adequate “life, liberty, and the pursuit thereof”. Unlimited resources would do all of this because this condition would make obsolete economics (which is based on goods being scarce) and would force a reassessment of social and political interaction (all based on the condition of limits).

Sustainability, properly done, would force a paradigm shift in human understanding and also narrow reasons for war. Since everyone would have all they could ever need, any move to war would be greedfull.

This is what I think but what do you think; would an unlimited amount of resources make war obsolete?

Jeff P Jilek

Jeff Jilek has earned a B.S. in Architecture with a Minor in City & Regional Planning from the Ohio State University. He has been involved with architecture since his junior year of High School when he attended Eastland Career Center’s Architecture program. Sustainable Design is something that he is most interested in but also has taken many college level courses in psychology, political science, and philosophy. He will be attends Arizona State University for continuing education. He is pursuing both his M.B.A and Master of Architecture degrees. He blogged about pertinent issues in design and how design relates to global dynamics, culture, and economy.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 4th, 2011 at 4:57 pm and is filed under Engineering, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.


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