Producing in a world of scarce resources
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, following the severe tensions in many markets in 2021, has further highlighted the bottlenecks in production systems almost everywhere on the planet. Beyond logistical breakdowns, the real issue is that of the availability of resources, their varying degrees of scarcity, their geographical distribution and the dependencies they entail at the very time when new uses are being developed. The energy transition is a typical example, and what can be said about wind turbines and other solar panels? Scarcity evolves with time, the time of mining research and the time needed to implement new production, the time of technologies and new fields of consumption. But it also feeds on geopolitical divisions and tensions. Scarcity can be circumvented, through recycling and the circular economy in particular, but it can never be totally eliminated.
Producing in a world of scarce resources therefore means above all anticipating, managing unavoidable dependencies, adapting technologies and strategies to the reality of the finiteness of our resources.
National School of Economics, Université de Pekin