Resources in America's Future: Patterns of Requirements and Availabilities, 1960-2000

Resources in America's Future: Patterns of Requirements and Availabilities, 1960-2000

Resources in America's Future: Patterns of Requirements and Availabilities, 1960-2000

Resources in America's Future: Patterns of Requirements and Availabilities, 1960-2000

Excerpt

One of the great questions before any nation concerns the adequacy of natural resources to provide the kind of living its people want, or in some countries, merely to keep the population alive. The question is not new or transient. Even in the United States, with large resources of land, water, energy, and minerals, and the world's highest average level of living, one finds concern regarding the over-all adequacy of resources to support the rate of growth of the economy that is within the nation's reach. And if sheer quantities of raw materials and of resource services will suffice, then what will happen to the quality of the resource base itself and its capacity to sustain further economic growth? How may resource conservation and development reflect proven social values and at the same time promote such changes as society at its best would like to make? More specifically, can the flow of useful materials be increased without higher costs? Can necessary imports of raw materials be obtained effectively in ways that at the same time contribute to the economic development of the supplying countries? What reliance can be placed on discovery of new sources, and on technological advances in extraction, processing, and use? Can shifts in demand from one material to another be foreseen and accomplished with minimum disturbance to the existing work force and pattern of industrial location? What are the prospects for surplus production as well as for shortage of particular items?

These are some of the questions that gave rise to this book, which essentially is an effort to build a framework within which answers may be worked out.

The core of the book is the projections of demand and supply of natural resources --their products and services as well as the basic land, water, and minerals--to the year 2000 for the United States. The projections make a comprehensive, interrelated system consistent with more general projections of population, labor force, production, and income. The picture that emerges, we believe, will be helpful to anyone who bears a responsibility for, or is interested in, the resources future of the country.

We have made the estimates as carefully and soundly as we could within the limits of available data and practicable methods, but we are under no illusion that time will not prove us wrong, or at least wide of the mark, in many instances. The entire set of projections ideally should be made, say, once every five years in the light of new . . .

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