More with less vs. Abundant resources

Schwäbische Hausfrau

“Get more done with less.” An intelligent use of resources also aims to maintain balance. Germans try to avoid ‘heading down the wrong path’, especially ‘betting everything on one hand’. Instead, they try to view an individual decision in the broader context of factors and resources. Achieving more with less is a defensive approach.

Decision making latitude. Germans do their best to maintain broad latitude in their decision making, whether it be in companies, families or the government at all levels. They want to make decisions freely, not be forced to make them.

Germans strive to keep as many options open as possible, knowing well that every decision leads to action, which in turn draws on valuable resources: time, budgets, material, manpower. And because revising decisions further depletes resources, Germans try to make the right decision from the start.

Thrifty. The German people are thrifty. The national debt per person is far lower than in Europe’s southern countries and clearly lower than in the U.S.. Private household debt is considered to be a character weakness, of poor planning, an inability to manage a budget. State agencies stand ready at any time to advise German citizens on how to get their personal finances in order.

Exact calculation. Germans are known to calculate ‘with a sharp pencil’. Whether it be the mother of a family, the Chief Financial Officer of a German small-to-medium sized company or a civil servant in the local tax office, the Germans calculate precisely what costs how much, when, with what affect on the overall budget.

Germans speak of the schwäbische Hausfrau, the Swabian mother and head of the household. Swabians are known within German for being especially thrifty. They are the model for financial conservatism, for avoiding non-essentials, for holding on to their money, for saving.

Abundant Resources

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) – French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America – wrote: “The country appears to stretch on forever and is of limitless resources. But, no matter how fast it grows, it will remain surrounded by resources it cannot possibly exhaust.”

Energy: The United States has more coal reserves than any other country in the world and represent one-quarter of the world’s total coal supply. The U.S. has 272 billion tons of coal reserves and uses about 1.1 billion tons of coal per year. At this rate, America’s 272 billion tons of coal reserves would last nearly 250 years.

According to the 2012 article “American Oil Growing Most Since First Well Signals Independence” by Asjylyn Loder on bloomberg.com domestic output of oil grew by a record 766,000 barrels a day to the highest level in 15 years, government data shows, putting the nation on pace to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer by 2020.

Net petroleum imports have fallen by more than 38 percent since the 2005 peak, and now account for 41 percent of demand, down from 60 percent seven years ago, moving the United States closer to energy independence than it has been for decades.

Key natural resources: One-third of U.S. land is covered by forests (302 million hectares), making forestland the number one type of land use in the United States. One-fifth of U.S. land is timberland (204 million hectares), which is land capable of producing 1.38 cubic meters per hectare of industrial wood annually. 71 percent of all timberland in the U.S. is privately owned, while 29 percent is publicly owned.

Land: The United States has a land area of 3.8 million miles² (9.8 million km²) compared to 9.7 million km² in China, 0.36 million km² in Germany and 0.38 million km² in Japan.

Population density: United States population density per square mile is 84, compared to 365 for China, 609 for Germany, and 836 for Japan.

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