Peak Oil. Fracking en EEUU y en Europa.

1. Interesante entrada en un blog que no conocía.

La tesis es que EEUU tiene una gran ventaja con respecto a otras zonas para explotar los hidrocarburos no convencionales mediante fracking: que ya dispone de “pozos” dónde poder verter el agua muy contaminante que se genera con esta tecnología amortiguando su impacto ambiental. En Europa, Ucrania estaría en la misma posición.

2. En el post cita un paper muy interesante, aunque sea de 1990.

Título. The origins of American Industrial Success.

Resumiendo la tesis del paper, el desarrollo económico depende más de la mentalidad emprendedora de la población de un país y de la capacidad innovadora para extraer las pocas o muchas ventajas que ofrezca tu entorno que de la dotación de recursos. Interesante tesis.

Extracto del post (que no del paper).

 First, early American industrial success was due to access to cheap abundant natural resources. Second, there was nothing special about America’s geological endowment that caused it to enjoy cheaper and more abundant natural resources. Rather, Americans were particularly innovative in figuring out ways to turn their geological endowments into usable economic resources. In a 1995 paper with Paul David, the authors cheekily called American resource abundance “socially constructed.”  

Este segundo paper de 1995 es el siguiente:

Título. The origins of American Ressource abundance. 

Abstract.

American manufacturing exports became increasingly resource-intensive over the very period, roughly 1880-1920, during which the U.S. ascended to the position of world leadership in manufacturing. This paper challenges the simplistic view that the resource-intensity of manufacturing reflected the country”s abundant geological endowment of mineral deposits. Instead, it shows that in the century following 1850 the U.S. exploited its natural resource potentials to a far greater extent than other countries and did so across virtually the entire range of industrial minerals. It argues that “natural resource abundance” was an endogenous. “socially constructed” condition that was not geologically pre-ordained. It examines the complex legal, institutional, technological and organizational adaptations that shaped the U.S. supply-responses to the expanding domestic and international industrial demands for minerals and mineral-products. It suggests that the existence of strong “positive feedbacks”–even in the exploitation of depletable resources–was responsible for the explosive growth of the American minerals economy.

Extracto del paper.

This paper asks a different, and perhaps more fundamental question: why did the United States become the world’s leading mineral-producing nation? The answer to this question may appear trivially obvious to those approaching the matter from one of the traditional frameworks of economics: Ricardian, neoclassical, or Heckscher-Ohlin models all presume that natural resource production is fundamentally determined by a country’s “endowment” of natural resources.

Surely resource abundance was a gift of nature, an example of what Parker calls the “sheer luckiness of the American economy.”2 When George Otis Smith, director of the United States Geological Survey, wrote in 1919 that “the United States is more richly endowed with mineral wealth than any other country,” he expressed the best available scientific knowledge of his day. Our question may appear to have a transparently simple answer, but this paper reports that “it ain’t necessarily so.

Minerals with economic value do indeed occur unevenly across the surface of the earth, but between 1850 and 1950, the United States exploited its resource potential to a far greater extent than other countries of the world. The abundance of American natural resources did not derive exclusively from geological endowment, we argue, but reflected the  intensity of search; technologies of extraction, refining, and utilization; market development and transportation costs; and legal, institutional, and political structures affecting all of these. The situation of natural resource abundance, no less than the condition of so-called technological leadership, is a socially constructed state. Its formation is more appropriately viewed as a process endogenous to the economic and political system, rather than simply a predetermined set of physical endowment constraints imposed exogenously — by “Nature.” To buttress these assertions, we begin with a quantitative demonstration of American “overachievement” in minerals, and then proceed to trace the emergence of this leadership position chronologically. These findings lead us to an account of the main institutional foundations for American mineral resource abundance.

Más voluntarista, más optimista tecnológico y más institucionalista no se puede ser. ¡ Olé, Olé y Olé ! Esta es la actitud que nos gusta en este blog (aunque todavía, sin haber leído los papers, no estamos totalmente convencidos de las tesis que defienden).

Por otra parte ya hemos comentado en anteriores entradas de este blog que medir objetivamente los recursos naturales de un país (sean positivos o negativos) o del globo no es fácil: esta es una variable muy compleja y muy dinámica. Quizás tenga más sentido medirla relativa a un estado del arte tecnológico y a un contexto económico (estructura de precios) concreto en el tiempo.

Por otra parte recordemos que en la segunda mitad de los 90 se puso de moda en las ciencias sociales el concepto de construcción social de la realidad. Estas dos entradas son testimonio claro de esto.

 3. La conclusión de los dos puntos anteriores es obvia.

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