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Nov 14th 2013 at 8:24:16 AM •••

This seems to have become a geopolitics debate. Can someone craft an entry that speaks in one voice (or no entry at all)?

  • China currently holds a near-monopoly on most and a complete monopoly on some valuable rare earth minerals required in advanced electronics manufacturing. The rest of the world is basically China's bitch when it comes to building anything with integrated circuitry. For now, at least, this has also to do with simple cost reasons. Yes, there are rare earths in the USA, but if Chinese can gather them for much less money, why not? If prices increase, suddenly the old mines become profitable again.A lot of things China can do can also be done in other countries, but for a (slightly) higher price.China has lower value in the currency exchange rate than USA due to dumping.
    • Rare earth may be China's trump card now, but like porcelain before, all it takes is for some one to invent a substitute and this mineral wealth advantage becomes meaningless.
    • Actually, rare earths aren't really.
      • Some preliminary experiments into Organic Technology seem to suggest it might very well be the workaround for the rare earths problem. Not to mention simple recycling measures go a long way.
    • Plus, environmentalist policies often forbid American companies from extracting raw minerals, but allow foreign companies to do so under less stringent regulation. Why? Because the EPA and the US Trade Department have two completely different agendas.

Nov 9th 2010 at 3:50:31 PM •••

This Real Life example is a huge Wall of Text (with some first-person commentary, to boot). Anyone who wants to condense it to something acceptable is welcome to try.

  • Like more than a few other ... questionable tropes in this vein, this has some (and I DO mean some) grounding in history. China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, and at several points in its history more-or-less controlled (or at least had dominance over) virtually all of their known world. The reason why the South and East China Seas are called that (and why those names are liable to trigger an Internet Backdraft when mentioned on more than a few Vietnamese, Filipino, or Korean forums) is because they marked the traditional realms of Chinese influence, as their shipbuilding more or less dwarfed everybody else's until the Japanese Westernized in the late 19th century. Their land military was also in no way not a force to be reckoned with, though the neighboring nations had better luck with it than they did the navy (for example: see the original Tet offensive or the disastrous Sui invasions of Korea). As result, China could generally push around every other nation in the neighborhood in a way no European power (even Rome) ever could, and often forced them to swear allegiance to the reigning dynasty of the time (a major objective of Zheng He's famous voyages), to the point where on paper the far East generally consisted of "China" and "Chinese Tributaries." Of course, the tributary status was generally a joke unless enforced (which generally was not done save for those that were extremely close, like Korea) and even then they realized on some level there was land outside of that under their control. This lasted more or less until the West came knocking and China more or less imploded on itself and spent the next decades rebuilding.

Edited by AndrewJ
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