A recent article published in the Atlantic by Charles Mann, makes the reader think about the seemingly-ludicrous question: What if we never run out of oil?
The question is prompted by a discussion of methane hydrate—a crystalline natural gas found under areas of permafrost and in the ocean floor. This resource is estimated to be twice as abundant as all other fossil fuels combined and has a total volume equal to that of the Mediterranean Sea. The fuel burns like natural gas; however, it burns clean. Discoveries like this seem to support the view of many social scientists that natural resources are not a finite physical entity. Rather, one can think of natural resources as an economic judgment. If demand for one resources plummets and the market stalls, then it’s time to innovate and develop a new market.
Complications abound in a world governed by purely economic judgments, yet don’t they also in a world facing finite resources?
Charles Mann, The Atlantic, April 24, 2013, Available here.