Resource Scarcity, Wellbeing and Development
Alex Evans -
Jules Evans Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary University of London,
The Future of Philanthropy and Development in the Pursuit of Human Wellbeing
The Bellagio Initiative - Commissioned Paper - November 2011
Available online PDF [16p.] at: http://bit.ly/vzfWbx
“………The last few years have seen a significant increase in political concern about issues of resource scarcity, especially in the areas of food, energy, land and water. This concern has followed both volatility in food and oil markets, and growing awareness of longer-term challenges such as climate change and the need to meet major increases in demand for these basic goods.
This paper begins by providing a brief overview of resource scarcity issues in the four areas of food, water, land and energy, in each case focusing primarily on the global level and setting out the basic supply and demand drivers involved.
The paper then discusses why it may make sense to see these issues as an interconnected set rather than as discrete single issues. Finally, Part 1 discusses whether concerns over resource scarcity are misplaced, given that Malthusian concerns about resource depletion have often been misplaced in the past.
The second part of the paper then discusses some of the ways in which resource scarcity could affect development and human wellbeing.
In doing so, the paper considers three different approaches to assessing wellbeing
- the economic or resource-based approach,
- the subjective or ‘happiness’ approach, and
- the capability or freedom approach – and discusses how resource scarcity could impact each of these forms of wellbeing.
Finally, the paper concludes with a brief discussion of some of the questions and policy options that the resource scarcity and development agenda may introduce for governments, aid donors and philanthropic foundations…..”
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