The Elements of Power

The Elements of Power

Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for A Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age

Book - 2015
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A natural resource strategist investigates the growing global demand for rare metals and what it means to the environment and our future

Our future hinges on a set of elements that few of us have even heard of. In this surprising and revealing book, David S. Abraham unveils what rare metals are and why our electronic gadgets, the most powerful armies, and indeed the fate of our planet depend on them. These metals have become the building blocks of modern society; their properties are now essential for nearly all our electronic, military, and "green" technologies. But their growing use is not without environmental, economic, and geopolitical consequences.

Abraham traces these elements' hidden paths from mines to our living rooms, from the remote hills of China to the frozen Gulf of Finland, providing vivid accounts of those who produce, trade, and rely on rare metals. He argues that these materials are increasingly playing a significant role in global affairs, conferring strength to countries and companies that can ensure sustainable supplies.

Just as oil, iron, and bronze revolutionized previous eras, so too will these metals. The challenges this book reveals, and the plans it proposes, make it essential reading for our rare metal age.
Publisher: New Haven :, Yale University Press, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780300196795
Branch Call Number: 338. 27494 ABR
Characteristics: xiv, 319 pages

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alexroddy
May 06, 2016

The first 2/3rds of this book opens the reader's eyes to much of what happens during the mining and trading of the hard-to-pronounce metals inside our tech gadgets. However, the author appears to be arguing that more mining of these metals (which results in terrible environmental degradation) is imperative so we can jumpstart our "sustainable, green economy" and build our way out of pollution. This is like saying, "Save the planet by getting rid of your CRT monitor and switch to an LCD monitor, because it is more efficient." Well, yes, the LCD uses less electricity to function, but you would have saved the environmental damage and electricity required to produce the LCD if you had continued using the CRT.

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