The Age of Scarcity ~ Abaster

11 December 2008

The Age of Scarcity

The current financial crisis has shown the terrible effects of wanton risk taking and resource gluttony (in this case other people's hard earned monies). The resulting credit scarcity has devastated individuals, families, communities and businesses. Yet, the credit scarcity is but one of many that will force changes in everything from the life styles of the poor and the wealthy, to the geopolitics of nations.

In short order there will be a range of other resource scarcities to contend with - food, fuel, water, shelter, raw materials, labor, etc. We are entering a period of time that will be shaped by pressures felt not only at the individual level, but more critically at the community and national levels - from the lack of water in many parts of the world through to the lack of energy sources in others. Individually, these scarcities will impact nations in different ways, but the impact will be felt globally. The disruption brought about by scarcity in one region will be felt elsewhere as our interrelated and systems based world no longer allows us the luxury of geographical immunity. Geopolitics will be shaped by those nations that have resources and by those that clamor for them. Competition for resources will occur at the individual level and the global level with dependencies on other nations for the provision of resources (of any kind) creating a whole new dimension of security risks. Some have suggested that water will be the next oil. That is to look at the issue far to narrowly - think rather of the global scarcity of sustenance and shelter! What is certain is that the insidious politics of oil provide but a foretaste of the politics of scarcity.

The question for our times is now how will we address the inevitable and endemic resource scarcity that individuals, communities and nations will face, possibly for the foreseeable future?

Further reading: The Guardian, BusinessWeek