Hidden Secrets of Money – World Rich List by Country Natural Resource Reserves

In 1776 two major documents which caused changes in an immense scale were published; “The Declaration of Independence” in the USA and an inquiry into the nature and causes of “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith. The latter, a globally renowned book analysed what constitutes a country’s wealth, prosperity and economic development.  Although a few of the principles proposed, such as the hoarding of a nations natural resources had negative repercussions, the violation of some major proposals has resulted in wealth estimation challenges all around the world. As was in the past so it should be now, that the wealth of a country should be primarily based on the value of its natural resources and secondarily by gross domestic product (GDP).

First of all, estimation of a countries natural resources as a means of ranking their wealth status is still valid. In the past people have been valued by the market estimate of their possessions, such as quantity of precious metals, cattle, raw materials amongst others. It is however obvious today that focus has shifted away from real resources to printed currency notes in a bank. Imagine countries reserving dollars in an international bank when the dollar is no longer backed by gold. Seeing that there are available technologies to easily extract natural resources from the earth, why are these resources not evaluated to constitute a countries wealth?

In present times, a country’s economic strength is estimated based on the value of the exchange of goods and services also known as the GDP.  Without contradiction, an untapped natural resource in the ground constitutes a potential reserve in a bank and revenue to build the GDP. For example, say a country mines gold, the gold when refined can be stored in a vault; gold reserve, of which the gold got to the vault after several chains of free market activities in the form of exchange of goods and services (GDP). So without exploiting a natural resources, it is obvious that it possess a potential monetary value.  

Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, emphasizes how free markets ensure prosperity and also constitutes national wealth. What this meant was that if people were given the freedom to produce and exchange goods as they pleased (free trade) and opening the markets up to domestic and foreign competition, people’s natural self-interest would promote greater prosperity.

To that end, developed here is a listing of the wealth of countries based on natural resources less their external debt. Added to the list is the estimated value of natural resource reserves by WorldAtlas.com for 9 countries. A quick summary of the top 20 wealthiest countries in the world is listed below, the comprehensive list is at the end of this post.

Assumptions:

  1. The actual reserve value of a raw natural resource is 40% of the estimated value while it is still in the ground
  2. Other assumptions detailed in the table

Due to unavailable reserve values at the time of compilation, some natural resources have not been included here, but will be in subsequent posts. The following are such natural resources:

  1. Aluminium
  2. Bauxite
  3. Bismuth
  4. Copper
  5. Chromium
  6. Iron Ore
  7. Lithium
  8. Manganese
  9. Mercury
  10. Mica
  11. Nickel
  12. Palladium
  13. Platinum
  14. Thorium
  15. Tin
  16. Diamond
  17. Titanium
  18. Zinc

This post was inspired by a video below by Mallence Bart-Williams…

References:-

  1. Adam Smith and “The Wealth of Nations” – https://www.investopedia.com/updates/adam-smith-wealth-of-nations/#:~:text=On%20March%209%2C%201776%2C%20%22,was%20upending%20the%20mercantilist%20system
  2. Oil Reserves by Country – https://www.worldometers.info/oil/oil-reserves-by-country/
  3. List of countries by proven oil reserves – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_proven_oil_reserves
  4. List of countries by gold production – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_gold_production
  5. Gold reserve – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_reserve
  6. List of countries by natural gas proven reserves – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_natural_gas_proven_reserves
  7. List of countries by natural gas proven reserves – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_natural_gas_proven_reserves
  8. List of countries by external debt – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt
  9. List of countries by uranium reserves – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_uranium_reserves
  10. List of countries by foreign-exchange reserves – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_foreign-exchange_reserves
  11. List of countries by foreign-exchange reserves (excluding gold) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_foreign-exchange_reserves_(excluding_gold)
  12. Countries With the Most Natural Resources – https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-most-natural-resources.html
  13. 10 Countries With The Most Natural Resources – https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets-economy/090516/10-countries-most-natural-resources.asp
  14. Top Silver Countries by Reserves – https://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/precious-metals-investing/silver-investing/top-silver-countries-by-reserves/

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