Progressively cheaper natural resources underpinned 20th-Century global economic growth. But the 21st Century could be different. Indeed, over the past 10 years, rapid economic development in emerging markets has wiped out all of the previous century's declines in real commodity prices. And in the next two decades, up to three billion people (and their spending power) will be added to the global middle class. Is the world entering an era of sustained high resource prices, leading to increased economic, social, and geopolitical risk?
Similar questions have arisen in the past, but with hindsight the perceived risks proved unfounded. That may not be the case now. In any event, the race is on to boost resource supplies, overhaul their management, and change the game with new technologies.
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