Update on resource conflicts

Following my last post on 21st century gold rushes and growing tensions regarding geopolitics, I am somewhat pleased to announce that China has in fact increased its quota to export rare earth minerals.

The act follows some hefty complaining from the USA, the EU and Japan, who filed a trade complaint to the World Trade Organisation.

An article from the Wall Street Journal, however, explains how this move is somewhat vacuous, given that demand for Chinese rare earth metals fell this year.

It’s possible to predict that this move will merely “buy us more time” for now, given that China’s rare earth metals are finite and our demand for them is infinite.

As I pointed out in the last blog post, continuous mining won’t solve the problem of depleting natural resources, and the challenge lies in decoupling this trend from economic growth. My next blog post will look at the principles of the Circular Economy and how it can be employed as a strategy to solve this very conundrum.

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