The Desirability of Natural Resource Depletion

  • John A. Kay
  • James A. Mirrlees


This paper was written for a conference on natural resources, and we were asked to talk about the Club of Rome model, which we had been examining. Having formed a poor opinion of that model, we decided to devote only an initial section to it, and that is written in a polemical style. Those who have had much to do with the world-dynamics debate will understand why we thought it necessary to express ourselves in terms more vigorous than we would usually think proper. Economists are advised that the real content of the paper is in sections 2 and 3, and accordingly recommended to start reading at section 2.


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  1. 1.
    J. Forrester, Wold Dynamics (Wright-Allen Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1971)Google Scholar
  2. D. H. Meadows, D. L. Meadows, J. Randers and W. Behrens III, The Limits to Growth (Earth Island, London, 1972); D. L. Meadows and associates, World HI (to be published 1974). The Limits to Growth does not specify the model used, though there are numerous hints. World III, most of which we have seen in typescript, is a revised version of the unpublished technical report that explained the model for The Limits to Growth.Google Scholar
  3. That technical report formed the basis of the critique done by a team at the Sussex Science Policy Research unit — H. S. D. Cole, G. Freeman, M. Jahoda, K. L. R. Pavitt et al., Thinking About the Future (Chatto & Windus, for Sussex University Press, 1973).Google Scholar
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    M. A. Adelman, ‘Trends in the Cost of Finding and Developing Oil and Gas Reserves in the United States, 1946–66’, in Essays in Petroleum Economics, ed. S. Gardner and S. Hanke (Colorado School of Mines, 1967), and The World Petroleum Market (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1972).Google Scholar
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  6. 13.
    T. S. Ashton, Iron and Steel in the Industrial Revolution (Manchester University Press, 1951), p. 9.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    The paper by Dixit is as yet unpublished. P. S. Dasgupta and G. Heal, ‘The Optimal Depletion of Exhaustible Resources’, Review of Economic Studies (1974); J. Stiglitz, ‘Growth with Exhaustible Resources’, Review of Economic Studies (1974); T. C. Koopmans, ‘Some Observations on “Optimal” Economic Growth and Exhaustible Resources’, in Economic Structure and Development, ed. H. C. Bos (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1973).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. Kay
  • James A. Mirrlees

There are no affiliations available

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