AskDefine | Define resources

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  1. Plural of resource

Extensive Definition

A resource is any physical or virtual entity of limited availability. In most cases, commercial or even ethic factors require resource allocation through resource management.

Types of values attached to resources

As resources are very useful, we attach some value to them. Resources help to produce goods so they have economic value. Natural resources like forests, mountains etc. are very beautiful so they have aesthetic value. Gifts of nature such as water also have a legal value because it is our right to enjoy them. On the other hand, resources have an ethical value as well because it is our moral duty to protect and conserve them for the future generations.

Characteristics of resources

Resources have three main characteristics: utility, quantity (often in terms of availability), and use in producing other resources. However, this definition is not accepted by some, for example deep ecologists who believe that non-human elements are independent of human values.

Value of a resource

The value or the importance of the gifts of nature depends upon several factors: Human needs are not uniform all over the world. Over the years, they have grown and become more complex with the progress of human society. In very developed societies, people use a variety of products which are highly processed. On the other hand, in developing countries, the consumption of processed items is much less; while primitive communities like the Pygmies in Africa hardly use any processed items. The level of technology also influences the utilization of resources. For example, the Prairies of North America were inhabited by the American Indians who used the Prairies as hunting grounds. Later when the European settlers arrived, they used the Prairies for agriculture. Today the Prairies are famous for the cultivation of wheat and the rearing of animals on a commercial basis. The value of the resource changes with time as well. For example, water was used by early man purely for his personal needs. As time went on, water was used by humans for agricultural purposes namely irrigation. Later, water was also used as a means of transportation and humans built boats to travel on water. Nowadays, water is also used to generate electricity.

Types of resources

Natural resources

Natural resources are derived from the environment. Many of them are essential for our survival while others are used for satisfying our wants. Natural resources may be further classified in different ways.
On the basis of origin, resources may be divided into:
  • Biotic - Biotic resources are the ones which are obtained from the biosphere. Forests and their products, animals, birds and their products, fish and other marine organisms are important examples. Minerals such as coal and petroleum are also included in this category beacause they were formed from decayed organic matter.
  • Abiotic - Abiotic resources comprise of non-living things. Examples include land, water, air and minerals such as gold, iron, copper, silver etc.
On the basis of the stage of development, natural resources may be called:
  • Potential Resources - Potential resources are those which exist in a region and may be used in the future. For example, mineral oil may exist in many parts of India having sedimentary rocks but till the time it is actually drilled out and put into use, it remains a potential resource.
  • Actual Resources are those which have been surveyed, their quantity and quality determined and are being used in present times. For example, the petroleum and the natural gas which is obtained from the Bombay High Fields. The development of an actual resource, such as wood processing depends upon the technology available and the cost involved. That part of the actual resource which can be developed profitably with available technology is called a reserve.
On the basis of renewability, natural resources can be categorised into:
  • Renewable Resources - Renewable resources are the ones which can be replenished or reproduced easily. Some of them, like sunlight, air, wind, etc., are continuously available and their quantity is not affected by human consumption. Many renewable resources can be depleted by human use, but may also be replenished, thus maintaining a flow. Some of these, like agricultural crops, take a short time for renewal; others, like water, take a comparatively longer time, while still others, like forests, take even longer.
  • Non-renewable Resources - Non-renewable resources are formed over very long geological periods. Minerals and fossils are included in this category. Since their rate of formation is extremely slow, they cannot be replenished once they get depleted. Out of these, the metallic minerals can be re-used by recycling them. But coal and petroleum cannot be recycled.
On the basis of ownership,resources can be classified into:individual,community,national,and international

Human resources

Human beings are also considered to be resources because it is the ability of humans what helps to change the gifts of nature into valuable resources. The term Human resources can also be defined as the skills, energies, talents, abilities and knowledge that ( can, should, are)use for the production of goods or the rendering of services. While taking into account human beings as resources, the following things have to be kept in mind:
  • The size of the population
  • The quality

Human-made resources

Human-made resources are those aids of production which have been created by humans to transform and utilize the gifts of nature as well as improve or increase productivity. These include:
  • Equipment, machinery, buildings etc. - These are essential for the production of commodities. They are also referred to as the physical capital of production.
  • Technology - Technology refers to the process or method by which goods are produced. Rapid industrialization in many parts of the world has been possible due to the advancement in technology.
  • Legal bodies and political, cultural and social institutions - Legal bodies and political institutions maintain law and order thus ensuring that people are free to move about and carry their business. The policies of the government concerning international trade and foreign investment also influence productivity.
  • Entrepreneurship - Innovation, vision, creativity, and risk. This is by far the most abstract.

Resource use and sustainable development

The gifts of nature cannot be consumed in their original form. They have to be processed in order to change them into more usable commodities. This is known as resource development. With the rise in human numbers all over the world, the demand for resources has also increased. However, there is a difference in the distribution of resources to different regions or countries. Developed countries use more resources than developing countries. The rising demand coupled with the over-utilization of resources has led to several problems:


resources in Arabic: مورد
resources in German: Ressource
resources in Esperanto: Resurso
resources in Indonesian: Sumber daya
resources in Latvian: Resurss
resources in Luxembourgish: Ressource
resources in Japanese: 資源
resources in Norwegian: Ressurs
resources in Serbian: Ресурси

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Swiss bank account, ability, assessed valuation, assets, assets and liabilities, available means, balance, bank account, bottom dollar, budget, capacity, capital, capital goods, capitalization, cash reserves, checking account, circumstances, command of money, current assets, deferred assets, devices, disposable resources, exchequer, finances, fixed assets, frozen assets, fund, funds, grist, holdings, intangible assets, intangibles, kitty, life savings, liquid assets, material assets, means, method, moneys, nest egg, net assets, net worth, pecuniary resources, pocket, pool, power, property, purse, quick assets, recourses, reserves, resorts, resource, savings, savings account, stock, stock-in-trade, substance, supply, tangible assets, tangibles, treasure, unregistered bank account, ways, ways and means, wealth, wherewith, wherewithal
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