Why should we save resources?

Saving resources will help to decrease pressure on the natural environment, ensuring that habitats, landscapes and species are conserved. It will also delay the running out of these essential resources as well as reducing the need for transporting them.
The data strongly support the hypothesis that countries with more unequal distribution of factor income redistribute more in favor of the poor - even when the analysis controls for older people\'s share in total population (that is, for pension transfers). But the evidence on the median voter hypothesis is inconclusive even if middle-income groups gain more (or lose less) through redistribution in countries where initial (factor) income distribution is more unequal.


Twenty percent of the world\'s population (we often hear) consumes more
than 80 percent of the earth\'s resources, while the other 80 percent
consume less than 20 percent. Critics of globalization never tire of
reminding us of this injustice. Far less often do we hear a proper
analysis of the reason for this state of affairs.

The critics make it sound as though the poor are poor because the rich
are rich, as if the richest 20 percent had somehow stolen those
resources from the other 80 percent. That is wrong. The affluent world
has grown fastest since losing its colonies. And the regions the
imperialist countries subjugated grew faster after becoming colonies
than they had previously. Several of the world\'s richest countries --
such as Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries -- never had any
colonies of importance. Others, such as the United States, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore, were colonies
themselves. On the other hand, several of the world\'s least developed
countries -- Afghanistan, Liberia, and Nepal, for example -- have
never been colonies.

The main reason for that 20 percent consuming 80 percent of the
resources is that they produce 80 percent of resources. The 80 percent
consume only 20 percent because they produce only 20 percent of
resources. It is this latter problem we ought to tackle. The problem
is that many people are poor, not that certain people are rich.

Critics of capitalism point out that per capita GDP is more than 30
times greater in the world\'s 20 richest countries than in the 20
poorest. The critics are right to say that this inequality is due to
capitalism -- but not for the reasons they think. The difference is
due to certain countries having taken the path of capitalism,
resulting in fantastic prosperity for their inhabitants, while those
choosing to impede ownership, trade, and production have lagged
behind. Factors such as climate and natural disasters are not
unimportant, but most of the gap can still be put down to certain
countries having opted for liberalization and others for control.

The 20 economically most liberal countries in the world have a per
capita GDP about 29 times greater than the 20 economically least
liberal. If, then, we are serious about closing the North-South
divide, we should hope with all our hearts that the South will also
gain access to a free economy and open markets. Developing countries
that have had openness in recent decades have not only grown faster
than other developing countries -- they have grown faster than the
affluent countries too.

The world\'s inequality is due to capitalism. Not to capitalism making
certain groups poor, but to its making its practitioners wealthy. The
uneven distribution of wealth in the world is due to the uneven
distribution of capitalism.

Trade and investment flows in the past two decades have come to be
more and more evenly distributed among the economies that are
relatively open to the rest of the world. It is the really closed
economies that, for obvious reasons, are not getting investments and
trade.

A quarter of direct international investments between 1988 and 1998
went to developing countries. Since the beginning of the 1980s,
investment flows from industrialized to developing countries have
risen from $10 billion to $200 billion a year. If we look only at
capital flows to the developing world, we find that 85 percent of
direct investment there goes to a mere 10 countries, often the most
liberalizing. But because those investments have been growing by 12
percent annually in the past three decades,