Created By: Odon on March 28, 2011

Resource War

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Trope seen in dystopian sci-fi. A reference, casual or otherwise, to a war fought over diminishing natural resources. Especially significant if it's something we take for granted in advanced societies, like clean water. Of course this is Truth in Television, as seen in the Middle East. Wars are always going to be fought over natural wealth, but the dystopian aspect comes about because there is an acute shortage of that resource.
  • The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. The Ration War of 2007 (gee, remember that?).
  • Implied in the opening montage of Roadwarrior, in which a shortage of oil lead to a nuclear conflict that reduced the Land Down Under to a wasteland plagued by leather-clad hooligans driving gas-guzzling vehicles.
  • The B-Movie "Battletruck" begins with the words "After the Oil Wars..."
  • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. The Coal Wars are being fought between Thailand and Vietnam, in a world in which all the petroleum has been used up.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • March 28, 2011
    Related in some way to No Blood For Phlebotinum. If it's the same trope, bring it up in TRS.
  • March 28, 2011
    Actually, usually seen in post-apocalyptic sci-fi, which would be a different genre. Many, if not most, dystopian sci-fi involves an elite, wealthy class oppressing others (although this may create a resource shortage, like the sewer people in Demolition Man.)
  • March 29, 2011
    It might be better to call this "Diminishing Resource War" as opposed to simply wars over a resource.

    Most wars are fought over a resource, be it land, oil, gold, etc. I think this trope is restricted to just "Diminishing Resources".
  • March 30, 2011
    A slight variation in regards to Gundam 00. By the year 2307, the amount of fossil fuels has dwindled to impossibly scarce numbers, removing them as viable energy sources. In turn, Earth's three superpowers alliances made a treaty to construct a massive solar array ring connected to the planet by three orbital elevators (several Middle Eastern countries refuse to join these superpowers and instead stick to relying on fossil fuels, making their lives quite hellish). However, the three alliances continue to engage in militaristic power struggles for personal gain, so "world peace" is still non-existent. And then comes Celestial Being and their Gundams' GN Drives, capable of creating perpetual energy... This hits home when you realize that 00 is, to date, the only Gundam series set in Anno Domini; this is an exaggerated, but still very possible (in some way or another) Bad Future for mankind.
  • March 30, 2011
    Part of Fallout's backstory.
  • March 30, 2011
  • June 10, 2012
  • June 10, 2012
    Tank Girl, over water and power.
  • June 10, 2012
  • June 10, 2012
    Cameron Stracher's The Water Wars is based on this. (literature)
  • June 10, 2012
    So is this trope only for wars over basic survival resources we take for granted, and No Blood For Phlebotinum is for resources of great magical/technological potency? If so, Resource War sounds like a supertrope of both types, and this trope needs a rename. Any suggestions?
  • June 10, 2012
    Well, if we're going to have this trope, we better change the laconic page for the other trope.
  • June 11, 2012
    The Man Who Fell to Earth. David Bowie is looking for water for his dying planet.
  • June 11, 2012
    ^^ We could change the Laconic.No Blood For Phlebotinum to "Resource War for Phlebotinum."

    ^^^ No Blood For Clean Water?
  • February 20, 2013
    The Universiad has the 'Paper Wars'. With every named hero being capable of videogame-style respawning upon death and all of them being writers (and also needing some place to write upon about the new world that they have arrived on) a human life is literally cheaper than a scrap of paper.