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Carrying Capacity: strategic rivalries over consumption

Innovation offers us growth that can be significantly non-rivalrous in consumption. While this can make some of the challenges we face more tractable, it would be naive to ignore how conflicted demographic trends and the availability of scarce resources are.

Energy from hydrocarbons is one of the most obvious rivalries. Clean water is just as pervasive a problem. And several other scarce strategic resources could well become flashpoints (e.g. rare earth elements, which are not only integral to our increasing reliance on mobile computing and communications, but also defence technology).

But this will not be limited to primary extractive industries. Skills shortages and process bottlenecks may well mean strategic rivalries in less well-advertised locations - not least, food production and distribution.

This RIC will focus on the conditions under which such conflict could be sparked.

Page last modified on 13 dec 10 16:11