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Can the world get along without natural resources?

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  • Fix, Blair

Abstract

In the distant future, aliens come to Earth. They find a planet devoid of life. Looking closer, the aliens see that life on Earth was once abundant, but was wiped out by a mass extinction. Curiously, this event was driven not by geological disaster, but by one of the extinct species itself. In an orgy of consumption, an odd little animal put the planet under enough stress to drive itself - and the rest of life - extinct. Then comes a startling discovering. Preserved in the sediment lies a document written by a member of the doomed species. What secrets does it contain? The aliens work for years to translate it, hoping that it offers a clue about what drove the species to overconsume. And indeed it does. The document heralds a remarkable delusion: "The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources." What a naive animal, the aliens conclude. While sucking the planet dry, the animal proclaimed its independence from natural resources. No wonder it went extinct.

Suggested Citation

  • Fix, Blair, 2020. "Can the world get along without natural resources?," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2020/05, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:capwps:202005
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    2. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2009. "Capital as Power. A Study of Order and Creorder," EconStor Books, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 157973, September.
    3. Fix, Blair & Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2019. "Real GDP: The Flawed Metric at the Heart of Macroeconomics," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 51-59.
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    5. Kummel, Reiner, 1989. "Energy as a factor of production and entropy as a pollution indicator in macroeconomic modelling," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 161-180, May.
    6. Fix, Blair, 2015. "Rethinking Economic Growth Theory From a Biophysical Perspective," EconStor Books, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 157974, September.
    7. Robert M. Solow, 1974. "The Economics of Resources or the Resources of Economics," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Chennat Gopalakrishnan (ed.), Classic Papers in Natural Resource Economics, chapter 12, pages 257-276, Palgrave Macmillan.
    8. William D. Nordhaus, 1993. "Reflections on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 11-25, Fall.
    9. Hannon, Bruce & Joyce, John, 1981. "Energy and technical progress," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 187-195.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Keywords

    growth; energy; natural resources; neoclassical economics; property;
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