If the resources are finite then how are economies growing?


If the resources are finite then how are economies growing?

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Resources aren’t finite.

There are two main categories of resources. Natural resources and labor. Natural resources are things like lumber or iron ore. We can grow more trees and while it might seem like the amount of iron ore is finite, our ability to extract it can grow. So, we have more iron ore available to us each year.

The other important resource is labor. The more people there are in the world, the more labor hours are available. This leads to more goods and services being produced which grows the economy.

Because we are accessing those finite resources or becoming more efficient using those finite resources.

There is only so much water on earth, only so much farmable land, only so much gold, silver, nickel, iron, etc etc.

These are all finite resources.

But just because they are finite doesn’t mean we have already used all them. The earth in a massive, massive place. And human beings have just scratched the surface of it.

Even if resources are finite, we can do more with them… a pile of sand is worth $X. Turned into glass, it’s worth more. Turned into a mirror even more. Turned into a solar panel even more. Into a microchip, even more.

And even if resources are finite, we haven’t extracted them all, we have the ability to recycle resources.

But ultimately it’s human ingenuity, advancement, technology that allow economies to keep growing.

Most resources are finite but we have yet to extract nearly all resources. And while we extract new resources the resources already extracted is still being used to grow the economy decades after they have been extracted. Say for example that your grandfather built a house using timber he fell from his own forest. That house is likely still standing today and providing home for people. It only requires some upkeep. This means that all that labor and woods he extracted back then is still providing value to the economy today. Meanwhile you can go into the same forest today and extract lumber from the trees your grandfather planted and build yourself another house. Even though you and your grandfather extracted the same resources, both in labor and lumber you are now twice as much worth as he because you have two houses. The economy have grown.

Let me introduce you to my friends exploitation and non-strategic devastation of the nature. People here talk about ingenuity and becoming more efficient, but in reality it comes down to either exploiting less fortunate people or devastating landscapes and eco systems.