No Resources Occur “Naturally”

by Don Boudreaux on August 27, 2010

in Complexity & Emergence, Cooperation, Myths and Fallacies, Seen and Unseen

Commenting on this blog post, Arrowsmith writes that

It’s the peoples’ natural resources. It’s god-given by god.

I disagree.  Non-human nature supplies a wide variety of atomically and molecularly different things – things that we English speakers now call “petroleum” and “land” and “magnesium” and “helium” and “trees” and “gold” and on and on and on.  But none of these things is naturally a “resource” – that is, none of these things is something made exclusively by nature to be useful to human beings.  The creative intervention of human beings is necessary to transform any substance found in nature into a resource.

I am inspired by Julian Simon.


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