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10: Human Security and Resource Scarcity

  • Page ID
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    Learning Objectives

    • Explain traditional responses to resource scarcity, using your own examples.
    • Critique the assumption of infinite substitutability.
    • Explain how the tragedy of the commons works, using an example from your own experience.
    • Describe how the different types of social traps (ignorance, externality, time delay) conspire to prevent proactive policies to address resource scarcity.
    • Explain how complex systems differ from static or linear systems and what problems that difference causes for resource management.
    • Explain how resource capture and environmental marginalisation can give rise to violent conflict.
    • Describe how effective systems of governance can mange the drama of the commons and minimise the harm caused by social traps.

    Richard Plate

    In this chapter we will examine the relationship between societies and the resources that support them from both an ecological and economic perspective. Societies tend not to address natural resource challenges until those challenges have evoked a crisis of some sort and here we will explore why people are not more proactive in the ways that they address matters of resource scarcity. These reasons include social dynamics, common psychological weaknesses, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the environmental systems that support us. We will explore how each of these reasons can be addressed so that societies are able to address resource challenges before human security is threatened. Perhaps most importantly, we will see that as a result of the social, economic, and ecological connections that now span the globe, failing to address resource challenges proactively will have significant global impacts on human security.

    10: Human Security and Resource Scarcity is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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