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Philosophy/Do Resources Actually Run Out?


I don't know for sure, but what if there isn't a limit on oil at all? What if quantum mysticism is right? What if there isn't a limit on gold or silver or platinum either? I mean humans have made jewelry since at least the time of the Celts but probably back to the Egyptians, but we're sill using and having gold! And it's still plentiful enough to be sold in stores and jewelry shops! Same with silver! What if there's no such thing as a nonrenewable resource? I mean, if resources were going to run out, then we would have mined all of a resource after about 4-12 years, but we are still able to mine/get these resources!

The USGS has a mineral deposit map viewable in Google Earth. And Minex Consulting has discovery and mining data.

This is really a geology/economics question, but I'll try to answer it anyway.

The evidence right now is that we have already recovered most of the gold we're likely to recover. It's a rare element to begin with, and it's heavy, so the great majority of it is probably deep in the earth, beyond the reach of our current technology.

Oil is almost the same issue, except that there are lots of known reserves that haven't been recovered yet. Even so, all the data suggest that we will hit "peak oil production", after which supplies will shrink, not expand, in the relatively near future.

For gold, see:

For oil, see:

Hope this helps.




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Charles K. MacKay


I can answer a number of questions in philosophy; my academic concentrations (graduate school at Cornell) are ethics, political philosophy, and 19th-century German philosophy (Marx, Hegel, and hangers-on.)



BA, New College, 1971, Philosophy and Religion
Awarded four graduate fellowships upon graduation

MA, Cornell University, 1974
Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

All course work and dissertation drafts completed for Ph.D. Cornell University, 1971-1975, Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

Courses in statistics and microeconomics, George Washington University and The American University, 1976-1978

EXPERIENCE: Health Insurance Specialist 2005 - Present
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service
US Department of Health and Human Services

Allentown Business School Instructor (Computer Science) 2003 - 2005

Northampton Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy 2003 -2005

Lehigh County Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science


Medicare Made Easy (with Charles B. Inlander) Addison-Wesley, 1989

Good Operations, Bad Operations (with Charles B. Inlander) Viking Press, 1993

Health Rebooted: Information Changes Everything (in press), 2008

Bachelor of Arts, Philosphy and Religion, New College, 1971 Master of Arts, Social and Political Philosophy, Cornell University, 1975

Awards and Honors
Danforth Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

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