>>13634>why would the fire nation develop faster than any other nation, from a materialist standpoint?
Power, like in the physical sense. They can create fire out of thin air, which means they are able to heat things up more effectively. It's the same kind of benefit as having oil. Other benders can only move things around. Firebenders can create energy. They're insanely OP in that respect, even though fire has other limitations that make up for it in most (small scale contexts). Fire can't be used to build anything, and it just doesn't work underwater (unlike airbending which can make bubbles) or if it's too cold for the bender. It's also dangerous in ways that the others aren't. IMO the show did a great job making the elements balanced in a general sense but also giving them massive strengths and weaknesses that shape the whole society.
>water-bending could easily be used to create powerful water turbines
Problem is this is both unintuitive and inefficient. You need people to continuously power these turbines, when in reality you only set up such a thing at a natural source of water. They might be able to reshape rivers to this end, but just having people run the turbines is the same kind of thing as generating power by people riding bicycles. Also for it to scale at all you need to discover electricity.>and earthbending has the ability to track and unearth great quantities of ore and coal
Only Toph is shown at first to have the tremorsense abilities, although earthbending obviously makes mining easier. Just because you have the resources doesn't mean you have the technology to work them, though. Prior to the development of ironworking, iron was not seen as particularly useful. It's too hard to work without sufficient heat, and usually full of impurities. Without the ability to metalbend, it's probably just not worth the effort for an earthbending culture to figure out advanced metallurgy since they can just send earthbenders into combat, and their "weapon" is just sitting around everywhere. It's sort of like mining asteroids to us. Sure it's possible in theory and it would be very useful, but the difficulty of it compared to the much easier alternatives means there's little incentive to try it.>as well as the ability toPost too long. Click here to view the full text.