I want to focus here on the local (national) natural resources of clean, fresh water and fertile land. (Some would add clean air as well.) These are not only important domestic ‘consumer durables’ but also key inputs into the production of the goods and services that are captured by conventionally measured GDP indices. Although both fresh water and fertile land are in principle renewable or restorable given enough time, energy and other resources, they are in practice being depleted, polluted and poisoned at a spectacular, increasing and unsustainable rate.
Well-informed observers of Chindia, such as Martin Wolf of the
There are two problems with this optimistic perspective: Scale and speed. When the
I am not arguing that things are bound to go disastrously wrong. It is possible that all water and energy use (including agricultural) in
Just how likely are the prompt and massive reorientations of economic and social priorities in both
But I have serious concerns even for