Resources for the Future RFF

issues and, more relevantly, from the stress inflicted by inequality and the high probability that it will lead to social unrest and ultimately rebellion.

Systems that reward the rich at the expense of the poor rely, therefore, on the ability and willingness of the former to mobilize the threat of armed violence against the latter. Even so, social systems of this sort still rely upon the labor of the masses to produce goods and services to facilitate the lifestyle of the rich. Sequestering oxygen or water, therefore, which are essential for life, will provide short and possibly medium-term gains for the rich, but the system is not sustainable over the long term because it will lead to the deaths of so many of the poor. This in itself might not threaten the survival of the system, but the reduction in production capacity will do so.

Irrespective of the means by which resource allocation is managed, it must be supplemented by attempts to determine the presence or creation of substitutes. Resource scarcity inevitably leads to inequality, and this reduces social stability. The promise of suitable substitutes at some stage in the future helps to alleviate the pressures that this builds.

SEE ALSO: Alternative Energy, Overview; Ethics; Oil, Consumption of; Oil, Production of; Religion.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. M.T. Klare, Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict (Holt, 2002); Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (Penguin, 1998); W.F. Lloyd, Lectures on Population, Value, Poor-Laws and Rent (Augustus M. Kelley, 1968 [1837]); William Mars-den, Stupid to the Last Drop: How Alberta is Bringing Environmental Armageddon to Canada (And Doesn't Seem to Care) (Knopf Canada, 2007); Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Anchor, 2000); Vandana Shiva, Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit (South End Press, 2002).

John Walsh Shinawatra University

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