Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year

It’s good to see that the western capitalist model has tamed China. Today’s Independent leads on a story that has been doing the rounds for some time with no fanfare (highlighting again the misguided world view of everyone from politicians to media outlets), that China is strangling the export of key minerals required for the development of low-carbon technologies (see here).

Ultimately the 21st century could well be the age of China. With the west up to its neck in debt, China is in a real position to remind us that despite economic reform, in political terms you’re still dealing with old-style communism, and that it could be the dominant political force in the decades to follow.

Apparently alternative sources of these rare minerals do exist elsewhere on the planet (another excuse to carve up some more of it), but that they’re 5-10 years away from production. I bet if the West really put its mind to it, it could get those mines up and running sooner, but in the meantime, let’s hope that China is sitting on its resources as a prelude to becoming a world leader in low-carbon technologies. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

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