Winnipeg: The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released Resource Consumption and Economic Production in Canada and the United States.
Americans and Canadians are often criticized for high levels of natural resource use. For example, it is an oft-repeated refrain that it is unfair that while these countries comprise just 6 per cent of the world’s population, they are responsible for 25 per cent of global energy consumption. The implication behind these critiques is clear: North Americans consume too many of the world’s resources, leaving “less to go around” for everybody else.
In this paper, authors Ben Eisen and Kenneth Green refute claims that high levels of resource consumption in North America leave people elsewhere worse off. The authors show that many of the resources consumed in Canada and North America are used as inputs to productive processes that generate new wealth. These processes contribute to high levels of production, wealth creation and technological innovation that improve the lives of North Americans as well as people in other parts of the world.
The authors demonstrate that high rates of production in North America, which are inextricably linked to high rates of natural resource use, enable Americans and Canadians to contribute disproportionately to charitable causes, technological innovation and other endeavours that improve the lives of people around the world. High levels of production and wealth creation in Canada and the United States enable the following disproportionate contributions:
The six per cent of the world’s population living in Canada and the United States contribute:
- More than 25 per cent of international charitable contributions that flow to developing nations.
- Over half of new pharmaceutical innovations over the past decade, resulting in the development of new medicines that benefit people everywhere;
- More than 30 per cent of all new patents in the world each year, representing a disproportionate contribution to the global effort to transform knowledge into useful technologies
- More than 25 per cent of the world’s 500 largest companies, which results in disproportionate contributions to private sector innovation.
“High levels of resource consumption in North America are inextricably connected to the high levels of production in Canada and the United States,” said co-author Ben Eisen. “This very high level of economic productivity has improved the quality of life for residents of these countries, but it has also also created substantial benefits for people elsewhere. The notion that if consumption and production dropped in North America, there would somehow be ‘more resources to go around’ for others fails to account for the ways in which production and wealth creation in Canada and the United States benefit people all around the world”
Download a copy of Resource Consumption and Economic Production in Canada and the United States HERE.
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