For an excellent and detailed discussion of the world resource situation see
"Handbook on Population" fifth edition, by Robert L. Sassone, American
Life League, Stafford, Virginia, USA 1994. This is a well documented and
brilliant study. Here, we will restrict the discussion to a few simple
observations, which tell much of the story. For example, see Article 316.
If oil were in short
supply, the price of gasoline would sky rocket. The price of gasoline in the
U.S. 1981 was $1.38 per gallon. Since then, the value of the dollar has been
reduced substantially by inflation, so today (2000) it should cost about $2.00
per gallon. Compare that to today’s price of $1.80 per gallon. For all natural
resources, population growth works together with evolving technology to reduce
the cost of extraction, processing and distribution. Hence all minerals are
cheaper (adjusted for inflation) today than 20 years ago. If oil, or any
mineral, runs out, the rising price will stimulate substitutes.
One trillion tons of
water are evaporated from oceans each day and returned to the earth as fresh
water, a good portion of that over land. Even if only 1% is easily recovered
from rivers and lakes, that still amounts to 1.7 tons of water per person per
day. Ninety eight percent of the fresh water on the earth is stored as ice in
Anarctica. Sassone’s book uncovers similar truths about coal, natural gas,
oxygen, wood and solar energy.