Since the dawn of time, domination and power have been intrinsically linked to the ability of civilizations to access and control resources. The drive for sustenance and wealth has led us to explore, discover and sometimes fight over these crucial assets. This blog delves into the historical trends - how different resources have impacted societal development, how this narrative has evolved over the centuries, and what the future might hold.

The Chase for Arable Land (0 - 1700)

In the earliest periods of recorded history up until the 18th century, the world’s powers were defined by their agricultural potential. The desirability of a region was determined by its moderate climate and fertile land, which could be cultivated to sustain and grow populations. Latin America was a prime example of this, its lands coveted by empires from 1500-1800. However, exploration was not limited to ideal climates - Russian expansion into the colder northeastern frontiers showed a willingness to stretch territorial boundaries for the promise of resources.

The Age of Mining and Oil (1800 - 2000)

With the dawn of the industrial revolution, power began to shift from the lands that could just grow food to countries rich in minerals and fossil fuels. Nations with large territories like the Soviet Union, North America, and certain Middle Eastern countries, reaped the benefits of the oil boom, propelling them to geopolitical prominence. Germany exploited its abundant coal reserves, while Norway tap into its natural gas stocks.

Rise of the Technological Titans (2000 - Present)

If arable land was the game changer in the ancient era, and fossil fuels dominated the industrial age, the turn of the millennium heralded the importance of technology. Small states such as Israel and Singapore emerged as global innovation hubs, their economies fueled by their advancements in tech. The progression of the postwar East Asia region is also a testament to the power of technology, now representing a significant chunk of global tech production.

Securing Energy Future

However, this tech-driven growth doesn't entirely rule out the need for traditional resources. Nations still need to assure their energy security. In this regard, countries with unfortunate geographical conditions have leveraged technological advancements to offset their disadvantages. It draws parallel to the medieval period when the Portuguese invested in sailing and shipbuilding technologies to circumnavigate the Ottoman-blocked land routes.

Pioneering the Future

The shifting trends of power resources throughout history underpin the adaptability of civilizations. Today, as we move towards sustainable resources with a focus on renewable energy, nations are again poised to reshape their destinities. With Japan increasing its renewable energy goal to 30% in 2021, it is clear that the race for resources is just entering a new phase. The nation that can adapt, innovate and harness these new resources will be the one to shape the future. The only constant in the journey of power and wealth is - change!