Those of us who deal with technology on a daily basis would like to believe that technology will help save the word as things like smartphones, tablets, and other technological wonders still on the horizon become cheaper and more persuasive.
There’s a big problem with that dream.
It’s called China.
Even as it is considered to be the largest seller of so-called cheap goods China has one other notable fact about it that could portend the exact opposite of cheaper electronic prices – right across the board.
The reason for this is that China controls 95% of the world’s rare-earth minerals.
You might wondering why this might be such a dangerous position for the rest of the world to be in but to put it simply, all of our gadgets make a large use of those rare-earth minerals. Not only do our electronics make increasing use of rare-earth minerals but they also are used in making things like laser-guided weapons to the batteries in hybrid cars.
Even though China has pledged to keep the supply of rare-earth minerals open and available they have also been reducing the quota of what can be exported to 35% of the quota from the same time last year.
If this pattern continues it is inevitable that the prices we pay for our gadgets is going to increase with China being the big winner.