Growth through scarcity?

* Book: The Sixth Wave: How to succeed in a resource-limited world” – Bianca Nogrady and James Moody.

Excerpted from James Moody:

“For over 200 years, since the industrial revolution, we have seen economic growth strongly coupled with the consumption of more and more resources. The more we grew, the more we consumed.

This model works well in a world without limits; with plenty of resources to go around. But we’re starting to realise that these resources – from ores to phosphates and water to topsoil – are not as plentiful as we once thought.

A report released at the World Economic Forum last year estimated we are already consuming 95% of the existing reliable supply of freshwater on the globe. The same report suggested that by 2030, demand for freshwater will increase by 61% in China alone.

Something has to give.

And what might give is the model that rewards converting as much resources as possible into outputs to drive growth. Instead we might start to see a model where resource scarcity drives many of our choices.

This is a shift from an old mode of operation where we have been harvesting resources that were plentiful and cheap, to one where we are managing resources that are scarce and valuable.

In this future world we might start to decouple economic growth from resource consumption.

But does this mean we will see any less growth in our economy? Not if we rise to the challenge.”

In a recent book – “The Sixth Wave: How to succeed in a resource-limited world” – Bianca Nogrady and I identified areas of massive business opportunity that come from focusing on scarcity as an opportunity, not a challenge.”

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