To what extent do changes in technology and society result in changes to the definition of resources? (30)
According to the Rostow model of economic development all countries go through five different stages: traditional society, preconditions for take-off, take-off, drive to maturity and age of high mass consumption. As these countries go through the stages of the model, their demand for certain resources changes. For example, a traditional economy’s resources would be much more fundamental, such as firewood and water, than an economy of high mass consumption which would include the basic raw materials as well as finite fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas to supply the mass consumers of the society.
Since the industrial revolution in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, coal has become more available and the potential to exploit the material, along with other resources, has been great. Coal is a finite resource that is non-renewable and thus running out as the population of MEDCs still require coal for power stations and to produce electricity and as LEDCs industrialize and become more developed they too increase their demand for the resource. This is not helped by the increasing global population, causing many more problems and magnifying existing issues, e.g. global warming.
The tribes living in Borneo and the Amazon rainforests are being disturbed due to people coming in and destroying the rainforest as different parts are demanded for different uses, e.g. some plants are extracted for medicinal use; mahogany trees are deforested and cut down as the wood can be made into expensive and luxurious furniture. In the cases of Borneo and the Amazon, however, areas are being deforested in order to free up some fertile land for use to grow bio-fuels. Many people are seeing bio-fuels as the future resource, but many problems and disadvantages accompany this idea, largely on the basis of biodiversity as well as socially transforming the...
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