Trends in Natural Resource Commodities: Statistics of Prices, Output, Consumption, Foreign Trade, and Employment in the United States, 1870-1957

Trends in Natural Resource Commodities: Statistics of Prices, Output, Consumption, Foreign Trade, and Employment in the United States, 1870-1957

Trends in Natural Resource Commodities: Statistics of Prices, Output, Consumption, Foreign Trade, and Employment in the United States, 1870-1957

Trends in Natural Resource Commodities: Statistics of Prices, Output, Consumption, Foreign Trade, and Employment in the United States, 1870-1957

Excerpt

Economic growth dictates the nature of the demand for natural resources, and the availability of natural resources, in turn, influences a nation's economy. Have limitations of resources retarded economic growth in the United States? How have natural resources influenced the composition of economic growth? What are some of the processes involved? What can be learned about prospects for the future? These and similar questions are of concern not only to economists and other social scientists but also to a growing segment of a broader public. Yet analysis of such questions has in the past been handicapped by lack of consistent, readily available data. There was a great mass of statistical information, but much of it was scattered and contradictory.

In this volume Neal Potter and Francis T. Christy, Jr., present comprehensive consistent long-term series for the principal economic aspects of major natural resource commodities, from which they have derived aggregate measures for all resources and for major groups of resources throughout a significant period of the nation's growth. Even a brief examination of their tables will indicate the problems faced in drawing together, from hundreds of sources, the materials necessary for a satisfactory representation of each measure for each commodity.

The Potter-Christy study, which has been several years in the making, was begun under the direction of Harold J. Barnett when he was a member of the Resources for the Future staff in charge of studies in the field of resources and economic growth. In fact, it supplies the statistical underpinning for and is otherwise closely related to a theoretical analysis by Mr. Barnett, now professor of economics's at Wayne State University, and Chandler Morse, professor of economics at Cornell University. This book, "Economics of Natural Resource Scarcity," will also be published for Resources for the Future by The Johns Hopkins Press.

The present volume, while in the manuscript stage, has been drawn upon for other RFF studies, including a forthcoming comprehensive appraisal of natural resources problems and prospects in the United States between now and the year 2000. In its published form we hope that Mr. Potter's and Mr. Christy's study will be a useful reference book for resources students in many fields.

Joseph L. Fisher, President Resources for the Future, Inc.

March 15, 1962 . . .

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