Fuller wrote about resources in the 1930s, long before it was fashionable to do so. Chapter 37 of Nine Chains is about scrap metal. If resources, say, of metals, are finite, it looks as though they must dwindle and become scarce. But, Fuller wrote in 1936,

"only 15% of all copper ever produced in the world has ever been lost. The remainder - 27 million tons - is all in use. In 1933 the US consumed for the first time more recirculated copper than new." (p.287)

45 years later, Fuller returned to the theme in Critical Path (p.281), where he makes a biological analogy, likening recirculation of metals to the bloodstream. In the same book, he gives a figure of 22.5 years as the recirculation rate of copper (p.282).

A key phenomenon affecting resources is ephemeralization.

See also Scarcity, Pollution.



Paul Taylor 2001