Resources of the world’s economy

Resources of world economy include the natural potential of the economy as a whole, the population and a manpower of the world economy, and also capital resources of the world economy and its branch structure. Scientific and technical progress is conducted now to that impact of natural and resource potential on the world economy gradually weakens, however the economy of the world needs an increasing number of resources for further development.

Natural resources can be defined:

  1. Bodies and forces of nature which at this level of development of productive forces and study can be used for satisfaction of requirements of human society.
  2. Natural resources — set of objects and systems of live and inanimate nature, environment components, people around of the person and which are used in the course of a social production for satisfaction of material and cultural needs of the person and society.
  3. Classify by the following main signs:
    1. By origin: resources of natural components (mineral, climatic, water, vegetable, soil, fauna), resources of natural and territorial complexes (mining, water management,).
    2. By types of economic use: resources of industrial production, energy resources (Combustible minerals, hydro energy resources, biofuel, nuclear raw materials), not energy resources (mineral, water, land, forest, fish resources), resources of agricultural production (agro climatic, land and soil, vegetable resources — food supply, waters of an irrigation, a watering place and the contents).
    3. By the form exhaustibility:non-renewable (mineral, land resources), renewed (resources of a plant and animal life), not completely renewable — the speed of restoration is lower than the level of economic consumption (suitable soils, the woods, regional water resources), inexhaustible resources (water, climatic).
    4. On replaceability degree: irreplaceable, replaceable.
    5. By criterion of use: production (industrial, agricultural), potential and perspective, recreational (natural complexes and their components, cultural and historical sights, economic capacity of the territory).

The structure of natural and resource potential can also be presented as set of the following resources: land, water, vegetable and natural, minerals and natural and recreational.

Always carried the earth to the natural resources participating in economic activity. Without the earth it is difficult to present the majority of types of economic activity. It is known that Earth surface area – 510 mln 149 million as other space is made by oceans and the seas fall to the share of sushi. The major directions and characteristics of economic use of land fund of the world:

  1. Total area of land resources of the world. It is defined in 129–135 million, or 85–86,5% of the area of sushi (about 20 million make the areas of the Arctic and Antarctic);
  2. Structure of land resources: 11% – the processed lands; 30% – the woods; 23% – meadows and pastures; 3% – anthropogenous landscapes: settlements, transport lines, industrial zones, etc.; 33% – unproductive lands (inefficient territories).
  3. A share of the processed areas in land fund and on average per capita. Lands which can be used in economic activity, 13,4 billion hectares. The area of lands of agricultural purpose exceeds 4,6 billion hectares. From them about 1 billion hectares is processed.

If to judge on a share of the processed areas in the general land fund in the certain countries, it looks so: India – 57,1%; China – 10,3%; Poland – 46,9%; Russia – 7,8%; Italy – 40,3%; Australia – 6%; France – 35,3%; Canada – 5%; Germany – 33,9%; Egypt – 2,8%.

On average per capita in the world 0,3 hectares of an arable land – the main source of receiving the food and fodder are necessary. As for the area of an arable land per capita in the certain countries, it sharply differs. So, in the USA 0,67 hectares of an arable land, in Germany – 0,12 hectares, in Great Britain – 0,11 hectares, in Japan – 0,03 hectares per capita are necessary.

In many countries agricultural grounds are quickly reduced as are taken away under construction. In the world also deterioration, degradation, lands is noted. So, owing to an erosion 6–7 million hectares are annually brought from an agricultural turn. Serious threat is posed also by desertification before of the cultivated lands which captured the territory not less than 9 mln

The most part of world reserves of water is the share of the World Ocean (361 million which (the maximum depth – 11 km) covers with rather thin layer Earth surface. About 95% of all water on Earth are the share of the World Ocean. Only 2-2,5% – water fresh which has crucial importance for activity of people and development of economy. And if to exclude the polar ices still inaccessible to use, people can use only 0,3% of fresh water of stationary quantity.

Main directions of economic use of water resources of the world following:

  1. Production of fish, other seafood and artificial cultivation of fish. The catch of fish at the beginning of the XXI century makes more than 60 million tons a year. Cultivation of fish gives about 9 million tons received from 6 million ponds and fish factories in a year.
  2. Consumption of fresh water for economic needs. From the total amount of consumption of fresh water on average 70% go on agricultural needs, 20% – for industrial, 10% – for needs of municipal services and other purposes. The main source of fresh water are rivers. The volume of a world water consumption came nearer to 1/4 water resources of the planet which can be used. In the world economy the tendency to increase in demand for water remains. Level of use of water resources for needs of the industry, agriculture and life makes in Egypt – 97,1%, Israel – 84,4%, Ukraine – 40%, Italy – 33,7%, Germany – 27,1%, the USA – 18,9%, Turkey – 17,3%, Russia – 2,7%.
  3. Use of the rivers and seas as transport arteries, and also for production of the electric power (as water resources).
  4. Use of forest resources. Square of the planet makes 40 million, or 28–30% of the land area, but only 23 mln are suitable for use. World forest resources are characterized by indicators of woodiness, the forest area and a reserve of wood on a root. The indicator of the forest area reflects the size of the territory covered with the woods, including per capita. In the world the areas covered with the wood reach 40 million, including it is the share of Russia not less than 8, Brazil – 3,2, Canada – 2,6, the USA – 2 mln For the last 200 years the area of the woods was cut approximately by half.
  5. Use of minerals. Natural mineral substances of crust which can be used in economy in a natural look or after preliminary processing belong to minerals. The modern economy uses about 200 types of mineral raw materials. World expected reserves of geological mineral raw materials exceed 12,5 trillion t. These stocks consist of coal (to 60%), oil and gas (about 27%), and also slates, peat, etc.

Coal. From fuel and energy resources in the world coal reserves are greatest. Coal resources are reconnoitered in 75 countries. The largest coalfields are concentrated in the USA, China, Russia, the Republic of South Africa, Germany, Australia, Great Britain, Canada and Poland. By expert estimates, security with coal reaches several thousand years.

Oil. Reserves of oil are concentrated on the Middle East, in Russia, Africa and Latin America. About 75% of world reserves are the share of Asia. Security of world economy with explored reserves of oil at modern production level (about 3 billion t a year) makes nearly 45 years. It is also necessary to consider that at nowadays existing technology of production on a surface only 30-35% of the oil lying in a subsoil on average are extracted. Natural gas. Security with natural gas at the modern level of its production (2,2 trillion t a year) makes 71 years. The largest explored reserves of natural gas are concentrated in Russia and the Western Asia.

6. The natural resources used for rest. The role of the natural resources used for rest constantly grows. The most important recreational territories of the world are the Alps (climatic and balneological resorts), the Bahamas (sea bathings, water sports and tourism), French Riviera – a strip of the coast of the Mediterranean Sea of France (rest and tourism), etc.


Manpower — that part of the population possessing the physical development and mental (intellectual) abilities necessary for work. Both busy, and potential workers enter a manpower.

Manpower represents the category which is intermediate between the economic categories “population” and “cumulative labour”. In a quantitative sense all able-bodied population occupied irrespective of age in spheres of public economy and individual work is a part of a manpower. Their structure joins also the persons of working-age potentially capable to participation in work but occupied in house and personal country economy on study with a separation from production, on military service. In structure of a manpower from a position of their participation in a social production allocate two parts: active (functioning) and passive (potential).

It is possible to carry the following to the main indicators characterizing a manpower of world economy: 1. Total number of a world’s population and its demographic characteristics. The science a demography deals with problems of the accounting of population of the world. As of 2011 in the world lives about 7 billion people while in the middle of the XX century there were only 2,5 billion. The annual increase in population is equal about 30 million people.

According to forecasts of the UN, by 2050 the figure will make 9 billion people. The main increase in population is the share of developing countries. It should be noted that from 80th years of the XX century the increase in population gradually decreases. 63% of the population live in Asia, 12% – in Africa, 10,7% – in Europe, 6% – in North America, 8,6% – in Latin America and 0,5% – in Australia.

Treat the main demographic characteristics of the population:

a) population density – average of the people living on 1 of the territory, the 45th persons. However, over various countries of the world of a deviation are essential. This figure is equal in Russia 8. Over other countries and regions density is significantly higher: Asia – 115; Holland – 244; Japan – 221; China – 133; Korea – 190; Belgium – 383.

b) age characteristics of the population. They include such concept as median age (age of the population of the countries of the world when 50% are more senior than it, and 50% are younger). On average in the world it is 26,8 years. However, in the developed countries this age, as a rule, is higher. For example, in the USA – 30 years, and in Russia – 36,4 years. Life expectancy of people in the world on average increased from 46 to 65 years only over the last 50 years. But in such countries as Sweden, Norway and Japan, it makes 83 years. Birth rate is measured by quantity of births on 1 thousand or 10 thousand people. An average value on the world – 138 births on 10 thousand people a year. However, in Mozambique it is 427 people, in Jordan – 274, and in China and Russia – 136 people. Mortality of the population has lower indicators – 95 people on 10 thousand a year.

2. Number of able-bodied population and employment rate. The part of the working-age population occupied in a social production or which can be occupied in it belongs to able-bodied population (these are a manpower). An average world assessment of a manpower – 55–65% of the total number of the population of the countries of the world. In the developed countries percent able-bodied above, in developing – below. In the developed countries a manpower joins age groups from 16 to 65–70 years, in some developing – from 16 to 50–55 years.

3. Branch and territorial distribution of the busy. A world manpower in branch aspect is distributed so: about 60% of economically active part of a world’s population are occupied in agriculture and primary sector, about 20% of the population – in the industries and about 20% – in a services sector, and employment quickly grows in a services sector. In the developed countries in agriculture the minority of the population, and in a services sector and the industry the majority is occupied. In the developed countries a minimum level of employment – in rural and forestry: in Great Britain – 2,5%, France – 8%, Japan – 8%, Greece – 30%.

The main reserves of a manpower the countries with the big and quickly growing population, such as China – 600 million people, India – 350 million people, Indonesia – 80 million people, Brazil – 70 million people have. Essential reserves of a manpower also the developed countries, such as the USA – 130 million people, Japan – 70 million people, Germany – 45 million people, France – 30 million people have.

The considerable number of able-bodied population also Russia – about 80 million people has. From them about 70 million people are economically active;

4. Unemployment in the world. Unemployment – the characteristic of any labor market. It is known that unemployment rate is defined as the relation of number of the unemployed to the number of economically active population expressed as a percentage. In industrialized countries the average level of unemployment in the last decades makes from 4 to 10%. In countries with economies in transition unemployment reached considerable scales, often exceeding 10%. Traditionally low unemployment is shown by the “new industrial countries”: Thailand – 1,4%, South Korea – 2,4%.

According to official figures, in the world not less than 120 million registered unemployed are. From them only 30 million people – in the developed countries. There are also informal data: not less than 820 million unemployed that comes nearer to 1/3 all able-bodied populations of the world.
Capital resources

Capital resources of the world economy can be presented as set of the saved-up capital material and intangible assets, and also current assets used in production. The ratio between various divisions of economy is characterized by branch structure of world economy – set of proportions and relations between branches of a production activity. The branch is understood as set of qualitatively uniform groups of economic units, same in the technological relation and carrying out a special role in system of public division of labor.

According to the theory of sectors (or the theory of structural changes) which authors are I. Fischer and Clark, allocates three sectors of a social production: primary, secondary and tertiary. Branches which activity is connected with receiving primary resources, – agriculture and the extracting branches treat the primary. To the secondary – branches of manufacturing industry and construction. The tertiary sector covers a services sector.

Developing three-sectoral model of economy, five stages of economic growth determined by an equipment level of development, structure of consumption and a shares of accumulation in the national income. The first stage called by “traditional society” differs in the high specific weight of agriculture. At the second stage – “the period of prerequisites for take-off” – active penetration into production of achievements of science and technology, growth of productivity in agriculture, trade development begins. For the third stage designated as “take-off” industrial revolution is characteristic. At the following stage (“the movement by a maturity”) rapid development of science and the industry, emergence of new branches of production, increase in a share of skilled work is observed. And, at last, at the fifth stage called by “age of gross mass consumption”, the economy almost completely is subordinated to problems of personal consumption, to the forefront there is a service sphere, but not the industry.

The basic methodological principles of the theory of post-industrial society gained development in works D. Bella which allocates three stages of economic development of society: agrarian, industrial and post-industrial. In preindustrial society the labor is used, generally in the extracting branches and agriculture. Industrial society is characterized by mass production of goods and prevalence of a class of industrial workers. Transition to post-industrial society takes place some stages. On the first development of the industry promotes expansion of transport and public services as the services connected with the movement of goods. The second stage is characterized by expansion of spheres of trade, finance, operations with real estate and insurance in the conditions of mass consumption of the benefits. At the third stage growth of the national income is followed by decrease in a share of expenses on food, and the released rest goes at first for acquisition of durable goods, and then – luxury goods, for rest and consumption of services among which education and health care dominate.

D. Bell also supplements three-sectoral model with two more stages: “quarternary” and “quinary”, reflecting transition from industrial to post-industrial society. According to this model of service treat three sectors: “tertiary” – transport and municipal services, “quarternary” – trade, insurance, operations with real estate and financial services, “quinary” – health care, education, research activity, rest and public administration.

In economic practice usually allocate three groups of branches: agriculture (primary branches), industry and construction (secondary branches) and services sectors (tertiary branches). On a share in the created cost on average in the world on agriculture only 10%, are the share of the industry – 30–40%, of services – 60%. There is also other classification of branch structure – division into key branches and infrastructure. To key branches carry energy industry, the industry, agriculture and the saved-up scientific and technical potential, to infrastructure branches – transport, communication and telecommunications, and also informatics.

The general tendencies of branch shifts in economy of the majority of the countries of the world is decrease in specific weight of raw branches and agriculture, capital-intensive branches, rapid growth of a services sector.

Fuel and Energy Complex (FEC). The energy industry covers all processes of production and processing of fuel (fuel industries), power industry, and also transportation and distribution of fuel and the electric power. The share of this complex in cumulative world GDP made about 3% in recent years. Fuel industry is presented by oil, gas, coal, peat and slate branches, power industry – thermal power plant, hydroelectric power station, the NPP and alternative (renewable) power sources. It is necessary to carry to energy industry also oil pipelines, the high voltage line, gas pipelines.

Among indicators of development of energy industry are most often used as energy consumption indicators in general, and per capita, and also structure of primary energy consumption by types of energy carriers. World energy consumption in general in recent years significantly grew, especially at the expense of the new industrial countries of Asia. It is expected that in two decades about 2/3 world gains of electricity consumption will already fall on China and India. In recent years a little more than 20% of a world’s population consume about 60% of all made primary energy. Thus 2 billion people in the poorest countries use only 0,2 t of conditional fuel a year on 1 inhabitant whereas 1 billion people from industrialized countries consume not less than 5 t of conditional fuel a year, that is in 25 times more.

In structure of the used energy carriers reduction of a role of oil and coal, but increase of a role of nuclear fuel and renewables is predicted. However total share of three main natural energy carriers: oil, coal and natural gas – in recent years changed neznachi-elno. The share of fossil energy carriers though decreases, but slowly. There is an essential growth of a share of natural gas which, according to the International Power Agency (IPA), can come out on top among energy carriers provided that it after all will become full automobile fuel.

The largest and created from the markets of primary energy carriers – the market oil. On it more than a half of all extracted oil in the world is realized. The main centers of consumption and oil production geographically do not coincide. Except Great Britain and Norway having essential reserves of oil, another developed to sell it.

More than 20% of total cost of export of all developing countries fall to the share of oil. For some countries of Africa and Asia oil – the main component of their export (Nigeria, Angola, Libya, Saudi Arabia). The list of the largest buyers of oil is headed by the USA (27%) and Japan (12,6%). 65% totally fall to the share of the developed countries of Europe. However in the developed countries consecutive replacement of oil in overall balance of energy consumption is observed, a Kotor develops in the following directions: strengthening of import of oil not from Middle Eastern sources; every possible increase in oil production directly in industrialized countries; expansion of consumption as fuel and chemical raw materials of other hydrocarbons, in particular gas; growth of consumption of alternative energy resources, active introduction of energy saving technologies.

As a result, from the middle of the 1980th years the new tendency – more and more slowed down growth of world demand for liquid fuel in comparison with rates of development of economy in general is observed.

Specific weight of gas grows in energy consumption of the developed countries. Major factors are growth of number of the power plants working at gas; increase in use of gas in inhabited sector; decrease of the attractiveness of nuclear power; further universal aggravation of environmental problems.

First place on production of natural gas is won by Russia (about 22% of the gas extracted in the world), it with a small gap is followed by the USA. However, use of natural gas demands expensive infrastructure. Owing to geographical remoteness of its main fields from the largest consumers extremely high are expenses on its transportation.

Industry. By some estimates of the UN, industrial output in the world is estimated of not less than 9 trillion dollars, it grows and comes nearer to 1/3 cumulative GDP of the world. The leading role in industrial production belongs to the developed countries. So, 16,6% are the share of the USA, Japan – 7%, Germany – 6%, France – 3%. A cumulative share of “the new industrial countries” – not less than 25%.

The leading role of national economy and its situation in the world in many respects are defined by development of a machine-building complex. The world mechanical engineering is a complex of branches of the processing production of the world including production of hardware and metal working, the general and transport mechanical engineering, radio-electronic and electrotechnical mechanical engineering, instrument making. More than 90% of machine-building production are made by industrialized countries. Today not less than 1/5 from the lump of consumer goods it is the share of machine-building production.

In the modern world economy four regional machine-building centers are allocated:

North America where practically all nomenclature of machine-building production is made;
Western Europe where mainly mass machine-building production is made and some latest branches are highly developed;
Southeast Asia where Japan combining production of mass mechanical engineering with products of the highest technology is in the lead;
the CIS countries where there are sufficient capacities, but it is not enough high technologies.

The most fast-growing branch of mechanical engineering already long time remains the electronic and electro technical industry which share by the beginning of the XX century grew to 30–32%. The leading role in world mechanical engineering is played by multinational corporations of the USA, Germany and Japan.

The services sector wins more and more steady positions in world economy. In the majority of the countries volumes of its production and a share in structure of GDP increase, number occupied increases, international trade in services develops. The tendency of increase in a share of the income from a services sector in structure of GDP was designated in some countries in the 60-70th years of the XX century. Now, by estimates of the World bank, this share makes about 68% of world GDP. The modern service sphere includes considerable number of the branches, subsectors and kinds of activity united in groups. So, for example, within the WTO over 150 types of service are allocated.

Scientific resources of the world economy is the saved-up scientific and technical potential of world economy, set of its scientific and technical opportunities. This potential includes the prepared scientific shots, volume allocated for science and scientific service of financial resources, system of the organization of research and developmental works, scientific service.

Among the major indicators characterizing scientific resources of society it is possible to call:

  • share of expenses on research and development in GDP of the country (3–5%);
  • share of the budgetary expenses on research and development (20–50% of national scientific expenses);
  • the number of the experts occupied in science and scientific service;
  • share of the knowledge-intensive production in GDP;
  • citing index (references in scientific works to works of researchers from this country);
  • quantity and the size of the grants got from various sources.

Accumulation of scientific resources in the world is realized today the next ways:

  • direct participation of the state in production of knowledge on the basis of the budgetary financing of education and science;
    granting gratuitous subsidies for carrying out basic scientific researches by the scientist (grants) on condition of the full reporting on the course of researches and the publication of results;
  • providing favorable conditions for private production of scientific knowledge and technologies – granting tax privileges or subsidies to the private business making investments in scientific researches.

The main tool of scientific and technical policy there is an effective use of means of the state budget. The state in the developed countries assumes from 1/5 to 1/2 scientific expenses. For basic researches this indicator is much higher – from a half to 2/3. The fundamental science at universities is financed almost completely.

Large corporations became the main source of technological innovations. At the beginning of the XXI century the branches representing information complex and pharmaceutics were the most knowledge-intensive, and the pharmaceutics advances.

Share of the USA in world production of the knowledge-intensive production at the end of the XX century – about 50%. Number occupied in science and scientific service in this country – about 7,5 million people. In countries of Western Europe noticeable lag from the USA and Japan on researches in the sphere of high technologies is noted. A priority of researches in fundamental science of these countries are the biotechnologies connected with the genetic nature of live organisms, improvement of quality and extension of human life.