Just wondered if anyone has considered this. And any problems with the idea. Such as another theory.

  • $\begingroup$ The thing wrong with it is that it's unsubstantiated. Unsubstantiated hypotheses aren't worth anything. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Jun 10 '17 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ It isn't very clear what you are asking. Are you referring to natural resources? Or specifically to nonrenewable natural resources? By depletion do you mean any reduction? Or cumulative reduction taking reserves / stocks below some defined threshold? $\endgroup$ Jun 11 '17 at 12:25

A recession is a temporary drop in economic activity, while resource depletion is a structural factor. One could easily imagine resource depletion causing a permanent drop in the standard of living. However, even if this occurs, there would still be a business cycle, with the economy moving between expansion and contraction (recession).

Since resource depletion is a steadily increasing process, the theory that it causes recessions would suggest that recessions would be more frequent as time passes. In fact, recessions have been less frequent in recent decades. (One can examine the recession dating information for the United States from the National Bureau of Economic Research at this web page.)

Unless you can specify some theory linking historical recessions to resource depletion, this question cannot really be answered. I am unaware of any such theory in the literature, so there is nothing to point to. There may have been such ideas in the Peak Oil literature, but short-term economic forecasting was probably not that literature's greatest strength.


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