The Resource Revolution

The world is on the threshold of the biggest business opportunity in a century, rivaling both the first Industrial Revolution, which transformed labor productivity, and the second, which mobilized unprecedented amounts of capital. The new revolution centers on the third primary factor of production: natural resources.

SAN FRANCISCO – The world is on the threshold of the biggest business opportunity in a century, rivaling both the first Industrial Revolution, which transformed labor productivity, and the second,which mobilized unprecedented amounts of capital to build cities. The new revolution centers on the third primary factor of production: natural resources.

The revolution arrives not a moment too soon. After centuries of wasteful production and consumption practices – facilitated by ever-lower commodity prices that have declined by an average of 0.7% a year in peacetime over the past century – the world is in dire need of technologies that enable producers and consumers alike to do more with less.

Making matters more urgent, resource extraction is becoming increasingly expensive, as production shifts to locations that present difficult logistical – and often political – challenges. Meanwhile, levels of air, water, and soil pollution are rising rapidly in China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and other emerging economies.

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