Authors: Phil Kelly & David Claridge – 15/11/2019
Hoards of people inhabit our planet, now almost seven billions and growing, too many for most to stay healthy and satisfied in the face of steady decline of sustaining human resources. Persistent scarcity of human needs tends to equate to eventual social breakdown and conflict, this frequently escalating to political polarization, rebellion, and warfare. Claims of unfairness in the distribution of what resources do exist will heighten these disturbances. Consequently, one could predict a multitude of disruptions worldwide in the years ahead. Thus, coming crises will be the conclusion reached by this article’s authors. Facing this conflict-tied-to-scarcity assumption, good solutions for resolution to strife may prove difficult to locate. Indeed, will a majority of mankind be forced simply to adjust to harsh environments of turmoil and depletion? Might democracy, capitalism, and progressive governance vanish, replaced by suffering, repression, and isolated confinement? Inherently, classical geopolitics attaches to these sorts of environmental questions, particularly to demographics and to resources, and to locations and positions of states and regions, concepts closely tied to numbers and placements of peoples and to natural wealth.
Geopolitics will serve as this paper’s template, extending an analytical platform for the reader. Beyond these several variables, other spatial traits interweave with scarcity as well – climate change and migrations, water and land depletions, uneven distributions of wealth, heightening temperatures and natural disasters, passageways through oceans and continents, and decreasing natural and energy wealth — among the many descriptions. Such geopolitical facets associate, when they impact upon scarcity, to political and social instabilities and to human and national insecurities.
Once more, the focus of this essay, the geopolitics of global scarcity, provides some good insight into the many threats tied to increases ahead in populations and to depleting resources, both of which one should see in the coming epoch of likely insufficiency. But more so, what might be the consequences in geopolitical and in other terms for such scarcity?
Accordingly, in the four parts that will follow in this article, the authors will respond to these several queries:
- How might coming scarcities equate to strife?
- What are primary examples of scarcity?
- Can such scarcities be adapted to or reduced?
- Which global outcomes could be predicted?
The majority of conclusions, reflective of growing poverty amidst greater populations, decreasing resources, and spreading political impasse, alas, will slant toward the pessimistic, the authors fearing that generations yet to come may face serious hardships with few opportunities for correcting the ravages of scarcity that will lessen the chances for satisfying living standards for a majority.
Key terms: theory of scarcity, classical geopolitics, demographics, locations, and resources, global warming and climate change, pan regions or pentagonal structures
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Phil Kelly is the Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Emporia State University.
David Claridge is an undergraduate honor’s student majoring in molecular biology at Emporia State University