Technology driven inequality leads to poverty and resource depletion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The rapid rise in inequality is often seen to go in-hand with resource overuse. Examples include water extraction in Pakistan, land degradation in Bangladesh, forest harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa and industrial fishing in Lake Victoria. While access to ecosystem services provided by common pool resources mitigates poverty, exclusive access to technology by wealthy individuals may fuel excessive resource extraction and deplete the resource, thus widening the wealth gap. We use a stylised social-ecological model, to illustrate how a positive feedback between wealth and technology may fuel local inequality. The resulting rise in local inequality can lead to resource degradation and critical transitions such as ecological resource collapse and unexpected increase in poverty. Further, we find that societies may evolve towards a stable state of few wealthy and many poor individuals, where the distribution of wealth depends on how access to technology is distributed. Overall, our results illustrate how access to technology may be a mechanism that fuels resource degradation and consequently pushes most vulnerable members of society into a poverty trap.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18908
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Economics
Volume160
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Fingerprint

resource depletion
poverty
resource
land degradation
Resource depletion
Resources
Poverty
ecosystem service
fishing
lake

Keywords

  • Critical transitions
  • Dynamic systems
  • Inequality
  • Poverty trap
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Technology

Cite this

@article{a990ba1d9b3a4fc5a7f972a7b0242945,
title = "Technology driven inequality leads to poverty and resource depletion",
abstract = "The rapid rise in inequality is often seen to go in-hand with resource overuse. Examples include water extraction in Pakistan, land degradation in Bangladesh, forest harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa and industrial fishing in Lake Victoria. While access to ecosystem services provided by common pool resources mitigates poverty, exclusive access to technology by wealthy individuals may fuel excessive resource extraction and deplete the resource, thus widening the wealth gap. We use a stylised social-ecological model, to illustrate how a positive feedback between wealth and technology may fuel local inequality. The resulting rise in local inequality can lead to resource degradation and critical transitions such as ecological resource collapse and unexpected increase in poverty. Further, we find that societies may evolve towards a stable state of few wealthy and many poor individuals, where the distribution of wealth depends on how access to technology is distributed. Overall, our results illustrate how access to technology may be a mechanism that fuels resource degradation and consequently pushes most vulnerable members of society into a poverty trap.",
keywords = "Critical transitions, Dynamic systems, Inequality, Poverty trap, Social-ecological systems, Technology",
author = "{Usman Mirza}, M. and Andries Richter and {van Nes}, {Egbert H.} and Marten Scheffer",
year = "2019",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.02.015",
language = "English",
volume = "160",
pages = "215--226",
journal = "Ecological Economics",
issn = "0921-8009",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

Technology driven inequality leads to poverty and resource depletion. / Usman Mirza, M.; Richter, Andries; van Nes, Egbert H.; Scheffer, Marten.

In: Ecological Economics, Vol. 160, 18908, 01.06.2019, p. 215-226.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Technology driven inequality leads to poverty and resource depletion

AU - Usman Mirza, M.

AU - Richter, Andries

AU - van Nes, Egbert H.

AU - Scheffer, Marten

PY - 2019/6/1

Y1 - 2019/6/1

N2 - The rapid rise in inequality is often seen to go in-hand with resource overuse. Examples include water extraction in Pakistan, land degradation in Bangladesh, forest harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa and industrial fishing in Lake Victoria. While access to ecosystem services provided by common pool resources mitigates poverty, exclusive access to technology by wealthy individuals may fuel excessive resource extraction and deplete the resource, thus widening the wealth gap. We use a stylised social-ecological model, to illustrate how a positive feedback between wealth and technology may fuel local inequality. The resulting rise in local inequality can lead to resource degradation and critical transitions such as ecological resource collapse and unexpected increase in poverty. Further, we find that societies may evolve towards a stable state of few wealthy and many poor individuals, where the distribution of wealth depends on how access to technology is distributed. Overall, our results illustrate how access to technology may be a mechanism that fuels resource degradation and consequently pushes most vulnerable members of society into a poverty trap.

AB - The rapid rise in inequality is often seen to go in-hand with resource overuse. Examples include water extraction in Pakistan, land degradation in Bangladesh, forest harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa and industrial fishing in Lake Victoria. While access to ecosystem services provided by common pool resources mitigates poverty, exclusive access to technology by wealthy individuals may fuel excessive resource extraction and deplete the resource, thus widening the wealth gap. We use a stylised social-ecological model, to illustrate how a positive feedback between wealth and technology may fuel local inequality. The resulting rise in local inequality can lead to resource degradation and critical transitions such as ecological resource collapse and unexpected increase in poverty. Further, we find that societies may evolve towards a stable state of few wealthy and many poor individuals, where the distribution of wealth depends on how access to technology is distributed. Overall, our results illustrate how access to technology may be a mechanism that fuels resource degradation and consequently pushes most vulnerable members of society into a poverty trap.

KW - Critical transitions

KW - Dynamic systems

KW - Inequality

KW - Poverty trap

KW - Social-ecological systems

KW - Technology

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.02.015

DO - 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.02.015

M3 - Article

VL - 160

SP - 215

EP - 226

JO - Ecological Economics

JF - Ecological Economics

SN - 0921-8009

M1 - 18908

ER -