News & Analysis
The Rare Earth Meme – Another Scarcity Hoax
China slapped with rare earth trade dispute ... The European Union, United States and Japan formally asked the World Trade Organization on Tuesday to settle a dispute with China over Beijing's restriction on exports of raw materials, including rare earth elements critical to major industries. The EU's trade chief, Karel De Gucht, said the three trading powers were making the dispute settlement request, the first step before filing a full trade case, following a successful EU challenge at the WTO on similar restrictions earlier this year. "China's restrictions on rare earths and other products violate international trade rules and must be removed," De Gucht said. "These measures hurt our producers and consumers in the EU and across the world, including manufacturers of pioneering hi-tech and 'green' business applications." − MSNBC
Dominant Social Theme: Gee, where would be without international trade organizations and the bureaucrats that run them?
Free-Market Analysis: Rare earth elements are not rare. You can count on it. Oil is not rare. Food is not rare. Water is not rare. These are all dominant social themes – scarcity memes – fear-based promotions of the power elite.
The idea is always the same. Manufacture the perception that something "critical" is running out and then bring in the "experts" – politicians, government generally – to "fix" the problem. Even if the problem is "unfixable" or drags on, the promotional meme is bolstered. The very act of politicians, experts, "leaders" arguing over an issue reinforces the idea that it is something too complex for ordinary people to fathom.
The media itself – controlled by the same power elite that apparently controls central banks around the world – plays a critical part in this charade. There is nothing like the New York Times emblazoning a scarcity meme on its front page to give it credibility. "World Running Out of Water" – etc.
Inevitably, the same "experts" that are brought in to negotiate these scarcity promotions are quoted in the articles, thus reinforcing their credibility as "big brains." Of course, there is no such thing as an "expert."
Almost everything we have been taught to believe in this world is likely false. In less than a few decades, most of what we have based our lives on shall be as dust. There are very few verities.
Think of previous centuries. Human beings believed that the sun revolved around the earth, that human beings would never fly, that going faster than 10 miles an hour in a vehicle could kill you, or at least damage your health.
The Titanic was never supposed to sink. The Dow was supposed to have reached 20,000 a decade ago. The dollar was "good as gold." What was good for GM was good for America.
On and on. The Internet, of course, has helped debunk many elite memes. What we have discovered in the past 10 years is that most of these themes were promoted to frighten middle classes into giving up wealth and power to global facilities created by the elites.
These elites – and they are not confined to any one ethnic or religious group – are intent on creating world government. To do so, they have apparently manipulated not only people's belief systems but history itself through a process we call directed history.
Directed history creates wars and economic disasters as a way of consolidating power and creating top-down hierarchies. These are run by "government" officials, but the real power resides behind the scenes. The elites are in charge – driving hard toward further homogenization and bigness via mercantilism.
These days it's easy for people – informed by the Internet – to spot an elite meme. Most of these memes try to frighten you and most of them, once you know what to look for, are easily identified. Here's more from this latest rare earth article:
China accounts for about 97 percent of the world's output of the 17 rare earth metals, which are crucial for global electronics production and the defense and renewable-energy industries. They are also used in a wide range of consumer products, from mobile phones to electric cars. The dispute is one of several between Beijing and the world's other three largest economic powers, as China's rise changes the world economic order. It is the first case to be jointly filed by the EU, United States and Japan with the WTO, an EU official said.
De Gucht said during a recent visit to Hong Kong that China needed to be sensitive to perceptions that its huge economy is a threat in Europe. The cost to EU businesses of China's export restrictions runs into the billions of euros, officials say. Trade between the EU and China has boomed in recent years, reaching almost 400 billion euros in 2010, but EU complaints against Chinese dumping range from the shoe industry to steel fasteners. De Gucht has in the past complained that China subsidizes "nearly everything", making it hard to compete.
An EU decision to make all airlines using EU airports pay for carbon emissions has brought threats of retaliation from China, as well as from the United States and Russia. Critics complain it is a tax, which infringes sovereignty. The EU says it is not a tax because it is based on buying and selling allowances on a market and airlines can avoid costs by finding other ways to offset their emissions.
Japan has been worried about supply of rare earths, especially after fears that China held back shipments of rare earths as punishment after the territorial dispute last year. President Barack Obama is currently toughening his stance on China trade ahead of November's presidential election. He recently created a new interagency trade enforcement centre, which is expected to be up and running in the coming months and whose primary focus is to make sure China honors WTO rules.
This kind of reporting touches all the bases: scarcity, complexity, even the idea that nation-states somehow have a personality. And of course, in the final paragraph here we read that President Barack Obama has created yet ANOTHER US agency to deal with China's trade issues directly.
We are supposed to agree with this, of course. The solution to all this complexity, bigness and scarcity is ... more bureaucracy! We are supposed to understand that within this larger context the individual is helpless and can only live his or her life as an onlooker as the big power players vie with one another for "scarce resources."
Thank goodness for the Internet. Thank goodness for the PATTERNS it provides us. If we read enough and think enough, we can start to anticipate how these promotions work. The recent "Kony 2012" promotion was a case in point.
Ten years ago, this promotion would have carried the day and provided a great impetus for the US and NATO to get further involved in Africa – obviously with an eye toward unifying Africa by intimidating Africa's leaders into furthering the formal arrangements of the nascent African Union.
But surprisingly, this didn't work out. The backlash against what seems to us to be an evident and obvious promotion has been intense. This is exactly what we have been predicting for about a decade now. The Internet Reformation rolls on and the results are NOT predictable, just as the results of the first Reformation were likely not predictable.
More and more people understand the way the world Really Works these days and the result is that the Western power elites are increasingly falling back on the brutal regime of authoritarian laws and outright war.
In our view it may not matter, however, and may even motivate more people to begin to understand the "matrix" in which they have lived out their lives. If the 20th century was something of a Dark Ages, the 21st century may provide us with a kind of Renaissance in which the inquisitive human mind is rewarded by the tools of technology and the illumination that comes from seeking real knowledge.
As for rare earths themselves, here are excerpts from an article (in the Smithsonian Magazine, of all places) that puts this so-called scarcity into context:
Given their name, rare earth elements, and the fact that China controls 96 percent of REE production, you might think the Chinese had won some geologic lottery. But these metallic substances—elements 57 to 71 on the periodic table, plus scandium and yttrium—are not all that rare. It's been economic and scientific smarts, not geologic luck, that has given China its near monopoly on these elements ...
The United States has one of the richest REE deposits in the world, at Mountain Pass in California, but as interest in rare earths declined in this country in the late 20th century, China's interest was heating up. Chinese scientists had visited during the Nixon Administration and taken their knowledge home, applying it to their own rich deposits. By the end of the 20th century, they were able to undersell the competition and drive most of the rest of the world out of the business ...
Earlier this year, China blocked REE exports to Japan, renewing concerns about the Chinese monopoly and prompting new calls for developing rare earth production elsewhere. The Mountain Pass mine, which has been inactive for several years, is scheduled to start up again in 2011. A new report from the USGS documents REE deposits in 13 additional states, and India, Australia and Canada are planning to get into the rare earths business more heavily.
And anyone looking for new REE deposits could benefit from the years of Chinese work in this area. Most of the world's heavy rare earths come from ionic adsorption clays in southeast China, [mineral commodities specialist Daniel] Cordier says, and no one has really looked at this type of clay elsewhere in the world. "There's a lot of opportunity for exploration," he says.
Rare earth minerals are also apparently plentiful in seabeds but really, that's not the point. We can see from the above excerpt, once again, that games are likely being played. Scarcity is where the elites want to create it.
Oil is somehow only plentiful in the Middle East, and especially in Saudi Arabia. Just coincidentally, Saudi Arabia is the marginal (swing) producer and won't sell its sweet crude for anything else but US dollars. What are the odds, eh?
In fact, oil likely doesn't come from old dinosaur bones and may even be abiotic. One of the keys to realizing power elite memes is the labels that are applied to various promotions. Somehow oil and gas became known as "fossil fuels." Coincidence? Did someone wake up in the morning and just decide to "apply" this name and use it? How does that happen?
No ... The use of such labeling, in our view, surely means that that the powers-that-be don't want people thinking "outside the box" and figuring out that the stuff is probably a naturally reoccurring geological process.
Would this tiny group of trillionaires be so devious? Heck, what do you think they created Tavistock for? They work on these promotions constantly – out in the open.
It is no coincidence that "rare earth" metals have ended up in a Chinese monopoly. It gives the elites the justification to pursue a trade war with China, exacerbate tensions with the "yellow peril" and generally provides additional globalist impetus.
Conclusion: We decided a while back that all of this is phony. These are stories we're being told, quaint fables. These international tensions, even wars, are manufactured, with the Western elites controlling both sides. Yes, the East and West – and Russia, too – are all in it together. And the "it" is the coming world government.
Posted by GeordnungbefehL on 03/25/13 04:59 PM
Its raining men. Er... I'll leave that to the Supreme Court.
Its raining meteors.. in Maryland. Sort of like the nickel deposits from a meteor found in 1907 in Canada. FAlconbridge bought Noranda and then in 2006 was acquired by Daily Bell's neighbour Xstrata.
And then Tunguska 1908. Scully is looking for Muldur. The cabal meeets secretly in New York. [cf 1993 Tunguska/Terma]. Russians force him to eat 'black oil" . Tunguska was an impact site for another Foo Fighter. Get the geiger counters.
[RIP Boris Berezhovsky no joie de voir. When I was in Moscow in 1992 this guy had great sangfroid. "Splish Splash I'm Taking a Bath"}
And then one has Mexico. The crater at Chicxulub on the Yucutan Peninsula. No more dinos. Peteroleos de Mexicanos[PEMEX} has scoured this site much as the USGS did in Afghnaistan but US is leaving. China is already drilling using USGS data]
Sinclair OIl used to use a brontosaurus as a logo on the 1950-1960's.
The band Rare Earth debuted with "get Ready" in 1968. Thier second LP was "Ecology"
They are still recording.
I smell a UFO tour.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 03/15/12 12:19 AM
Yes plenty at Mountain Pass, and apparently far more around Lemhi Pass. Heap Leach mining makes a heck of a mess and the rare earths themselves form many toxic compounds during the process, not to mention other nasty unintended byproducts.
Western enviros write regulations to spite humanity and "save" nature. The Chinese mine profitably and let the chemicals run where they will. Any harm to nature is not considered significant, except for the human deaths, which they actually want. And they laugh at us all the way to the bank.
It could be considered criminal for the U. S., and other governments, to have made their countries so vulnerable to the whims of China, but there is nothing difficult to understand here.
Perhaps they are enhancing the rarity of rare earths to ensure the bankruptcy of more renewable energy companies. Faster graft and less competition for GE.
Posted by Dilence Sogwood on 03/14/12 02:38 PM
Regarding Ford (and GM) and platinum and palladium: the automakers tend to sign long term deals with mines to mitigate price volatility.
If you look over the last few years, there have been a handful of disruptions in the market. Also, there is really only one US domestic plat/paladium miner, and it is a high cost mine. It is a hugely volatile metal(s)
Regarding Mountain Pass, the USA has plenty of rare earth metals.
Reply from The Daily Bell
"Regarding Mountain Pass, the USA has plenty of rare earth metals."
Thanks, we believe this, too ...
Posted by Dilence Sogwood on 03/14/12 12:51 PM
Funny to consider how much moly and lithium are required for a green car.
Funny how much diesel is burned to mine them. Something doesn't add up!!!
Posted by seer on 03/14/12 12:44 PM
"The new U.S. accounting rules obliged the auto giant to disclose the value of palladium it acquired last year at a price of $1,500 per ounce. Industry analysts believe Ford bought at least 1.9 million ounces from Engelhard, paying $400 more per ounce than the highest price of $1,100 palladium reached last February.
Palladium is a precious metal used mostly in the manufacture of catalytic converters; these are required in cars to control their gas emissions. Keeping a stock is normal for companies that manufacture cars. Paying Ford's price seems to have come from the clever salesmanship of Engelhard, combined with the foolishness of Ford's purchasers, when both were driven by speculation that Russia, the world's primary supplier of the metal, was withholding exports in order to drive the price higher.
Now, with Ford's disclosure, the tables are turned. Ford's stockpile is so large, it represents 41 percent of total Russian sales of palladium last year; 38 percent of U.S. imports of the metal in a good year. It is larger than annual sales out of Russia's own stockpile of palladium. If Ford hangs on to every ounce, until it can be used in the production line, U.S. demand for imports this year will fall substantially. If Ford sells, then it will be competing against Russian sales. Either way, it looks like the price of palladium will slide - unless, of course, someone offers Ford a price it can't refuse, and decides to hold the stockpile for another price peak. That may be dreaming." FREE TRADE and FORD got burned in 2001-2002. China is controlling their interests first and the West is crying foul-the real analogy is not the scarcity but let us suppose China had 96 % of the world's oil refineries-even if you own billions of barrels of crude oil it is basically worthless unless refined.
Posted by rossbcan on 03/14/12 12:12 PM
DB: "no such thing as an expert"
is a misleading statement (unintentional, for sure). There are experts. They do exist. Surprise, surprise, it is YOU. Only YOU can KNOW your environmental / existential FACTS:
Click to view link
idiots attempting to forcefully tell you what to / not to do, eventually, spells DOOM for idiots, as we are observing, here and NOW.
Posted by dave jr on 03/14/12 10:23 AM
Free markets reduce "scarcity" and distribute wealth. Monopolies create scarcity and concentrate wealth.
A few bad operators in the US become reason for crushing environmental regulation. As if China is not part of the environment, multinationals are free to import from abroad where the environment apparently is not a concern.
It all serves the monopoly interests well. Old mines are bought up for pennies on the dollar, and no operations will exist outside of those who are well connected to the centralists (monopolists) who control governments by funding corrupt "do boy" leaders.
Corruption feeds monopoly and monopoly feeds corruption. It is a vicious cycle.
Posted by spiritsplice on 03/14/12 09:18 AM
Dailybell : When you make a statement such as, "no such thing as an expert" it ought to be green and clickable. Please explain what you mean by this statement.
Posted by rossbcan on 03/14/12 07:26 AM
DB: "The Rare Earth Meme - Another Scarcity Hoax"
Translation to RealSpeak: "we want it, but, do not accept your trade terms, so, we will impose our terms, which we, in our myopic prespective, where our wants (which trump yours), are decreed to be fair"
Total disrespect for property rights is integrating to "total war".
Pandora's box to total conflict is wide open by making the question of "who gets what" a matter of opinion (rule of biased man), as opposed to "those who earn, create it".
If China won't trade, allow the free market to devise and develop alternatives, else, war.
Posted by Where_Is_Your_Source on 03/14/12 07:01 AM
Your attitude towards oil scarcity is quite concerning. Whilst I agree that rare earths, lithium, uranium, thorium, and even oil are not ever going to "run out completely", the cost of obtaining and using them is surely the important issue. Whilst resource costs are quite likely inflated by the suppliers, the FACT is, that these resources are finite. Fossil or not, it doesn't matter.
Yes, "everything" is finite in a sense, but - again - don't be immature. The sun showers the Earth with 166 Peta watts of power (about 1000 x the human capacity to use it), whereas oil is already struggling to keep up with demand and it is hardly used for electricity generation.
The sun will be here for as long as you are here (the bank won't accept that one, but its probably true). So yeah, comparatively, oil is VERY scarce.
Posted by vivek on 03/14/12 06:40 AM
Rare Earth, I had to smile as I read that.
The Earth is Rare, Rare Earths are not!
Posted by NAPpy on 03/14/12 05:04 AM
There is growing evidence that the Big Bang theory is false. Search for Click to view link. Some of the electric universe theorists are also proposing that the Big Bang Theory is false. Search "electric universe". The wave-particle duality may be resolving in favor of waves. See again Click to view link. Also, search for "wave structure of matter".
Posted by NAPpy on 03/14/12 04:50 AM
I want regulations. I don't want a government monopoly to provide them. I want governance. I don't want a monopoly on violence to provide that governance. I wish I had control of the money supply, so I could then end it. Alas, one example debunks your assertion.
Posted by othree on 03/14/12 03:21 AM
great article. i agree with it 100%. there is no scarcity. food, water, energy - everything we need to thrive ALL OF US - is there in abundance. this fake system can only function when everyone buys the lie of scarcity. once the lie exposed the matrix cannot survive ...
thank you for contributing to the illumination :-))
Posted by memehunter on 03/14/12 03:19 AM
DB: Human beings believed that the sun revolved around the earth
DB: Almost everything we have been taught to believe in this world is likely false. In less than a few decades, most of what we have based our lives on shall be as dust. There are very few verities.
I agree, and I note that along with Darwinism and modern astrophysics, it is very possible that heliocentrism itself is a "dominant social theme".
I will note at the outset that, as some renowned physicists and astronomers have noted, no one has managed to provide a definite proof that the Earth actually orbits around the Sun (in all fairness, there is no definite proof that the Sun orbits around the Earth either, but see below). I realize that this may come as a shock to some readers.
In fact, the results of several experiments conducted in the 19th century and early 20th century seem to disprove, or at least do not support, the idea that the Earth is orbiting the Sun, or even that it is moving in space.
See for instance, Airy's experiment, Fizeau's experiment, the Sagnac effect, Michelson and Morley's experiments, and several others.
The following website is a good start for people who are just beginning to delve into this topic:
Click to view link
More links from this website - The Heliocentric myth:
Click to view link
Click to view link
As I wrote in a feedback to the DB in December (the "500 year old roll-up"), it is interesting to note that most of the modern concepts of physics and cosmology can be found in the Kabbalah and the Zohar. Note that, in saying this, I am not relying on Marshall Hall (of Fixed Earth fame) or similar Christian fundamentalists. Defenders or promoters of the Kabbalah are proud to mention this fact. Note that I make no claims regarding the exact age of the Kabbalistic texts.
Have a look at the following:
Click to view link
"Modern science proves many ancient Kabbalist teachings.
Kabbalism correctly anticipated many modern scientific concepts, including biological evolution and the big bang theory, more than 1800 years ago. The level of anticipation is astonishing. For thousands of years, Kabbalists have held a firm conviction that eventually the human race would make discoveries about the natural world which would verify or refute their remarkable explanations of the stories in scripture. It seems this conviction had been held some 3500 years before the first scientific verification of their teachings happened. Great perseverance, to say the least. In the scholarly community of the modern age, past ideas which have been verified my modern understanding are given a specific identifying term; anticipations. Over the past 500 or so years, a remarkable number of western scientific discoveries have occurred which appear to have been anticipated by Kabbalists for a long, long time. Below are listed some of the more astonishing anticipations of modern science to be found in Zohar... a book written over 1800 years ago!
Copernicus - Kabbalism never taught that the Earth was the physical center of the universe. We may be located at a point of spiritual nexus for the universe, but we're not located in the astrophysical center of it all. Kabbalism has also taught that the Earth spins about the Sun in the same way the Moon spins about the Earth. […]
Darwin - Kabbalists have always taught the concept of evolution, both in the progression of the universe and the development of living creatures, which so closely parallels Darwin it would be incorrect to say the respective ideas are in any way different. […]
The age of the Earth - Kabbalism has taught that the age of the Earth is so great that putting it in numbers of years, in accurate measurement, would be impossible. It is taught that we will never better than approximate the Earth's age. Darwin wrote exactly the same thing. They are both correct. Currently, science posits that the Earth is roughly 4,500,000,000 years old. […]
Evolution of life - Zohar states that living creatures came into being through a long process that began when Elohim made the "elements differentiate with powers of attraction and cohesion, and the power of repulsion" to form larger clusters. These basic clusters of the elements further grouped together to develop "the elaboration of forms and bodies" in an "evolutionary" process. All living things owe their existence to living things that came before them, and this process has been going on for too many years to accurately measure. Is this not precisely what Darwin told us?
Extinction - Kabbalism rejects the entire notion of species extinction. Rather, when the Earth's environment changes sufficiently, the forms of creatures naturally change in order to survive in the new environment. Zohar states "There is no annihilation" of species. This was also Darwin's opinion on the matter. […]
And, etc. - There are many, many more anticipations of Darwin to be found in Zohar, but these should give the reader a good idea of the high degree of similarity between Kabbalistic evolutionary theory and Darwin's evolutionary theory. […]
Big Bang - The incredibly precise anticipation of the Big Bang Theory to be found in Zohar's explanation of the creation story in Genesis is literally unbelievable. Believe it! It's there. All of it. Every step in Big Bang precisely corresponds to every step in the Zohar explication of Genesis, and vice versa. […]
Temporal theory - Kabbalism has never taught that time is the measure of change. Rather, we measure the operation of time in intervals of change. In other words, Kabbalists have always treated time as a force of nature. […]
It should also be noted that so far there does not seem to have been any scientific discovery which has refuted any scientific theory anticipated in Zohar! Utterly remarkable."
Memehunter: Now, I guess there are two ways to interpret this. Either the rabbis who wrote the Kabbalah were pure geniuses who somehow anticipated modern science centuries ago, or somehow the Kabbalist viewpoint has taken over the entire scientific enterprise over the last few hundred years and transformed our view of the world to such an extent that what we take for 'modern science' is merely a rephrasing of ancient kabbalistic teachings. Either way, there is much food for thought here…
Posted by Danny B on 03/13/12 10:07 PM
China doesn't mine all the rare earth elements domestically. It has locked up supplies in other countries. It controls a high percentage but, that doesn't mean that it physically mines them. They maintained the price so low that other mines couldn't compete. When the military had a heart attack over this over a year ago, they decided to jump-start the mine at Mountain Pass. The smelter / refiner went into immediate operation because there was a huge amount of ore concentrates stockpiled.
It hadn't been refined because Chinese metal was cheaper.
Molycorp does claim to have heavy REEs.
Click to view link
Neodymium is the big reason that REEs are in such demand. The Neo magnet was accidentally discovered by a Japanese researcher. He was supposed to mix Niobium into the batch. He afterward claimed that the Japanese have a hard time distinguishing between the "b' and the "d". He mistakenly mixed in Nd instead of Nb.
When Hubbert came up with his famous thesis, oil was believed to be biotic. It could only be expected to be found in strata that were relatively shallow. Now that petroleum is known to be abiotic, the possible hiding places have greatly expanded.
Natural oil seeps account for as much as 14 million barrels a year. Multiply that by a few million years and you can see that there is a huge amount of oil.
Click to view link
Oil is the blood of the earth and it constantly rises up. It even refills old empty oil fields.
Posted by s1lver on 03/13/12 09:14 PM
I guess if you believe that gold and silver are around by some "divine guidance", you can believe someone or thing is 'controlling both sides'. You actually take pride in conspiracy belief. Why isn't your belief in conspiracy and the promotion of it somehow a conspiracy also, devised in order to bring all "us" fringe in. I guess that's why you think you have it all figured out; if you think anyone could be "that" smart, you must think yourself(selves) that smart ... ... or devious ... ... .. or omniscient . That conspiracy thinking is a two edged sword. And how does that solve anything? It detracts from your argument really. If my mom believes that my friends' influences are to blame for my unsavory actions does that change the situation?
I'm guessing that as many as are drawn in by your conspiracy brand as are turned off by it.
What do you have when you take scarcity out of economics? That's the point. If it is not scarce, it is not an economic good. So where does scarcity become a meme or whatever? And if something is monopolized, how long before that changes? You just sound angry and bitter sometimes. Conspiracy theorizing is just sour grapes.
Posted by johnblenkins on 03/13/12 08:31 PM
" Ha" Rare earth, China has the most by far!
"Scratch head look confused, ask silly question. As China has only in the last 25 years or so opened up to the West. How was life possible before without China's bounty. There are plenty in Afganistan, sadly digging would disturb the
CIA best slush fund crop.
Posted by Jeanna on 03/13/12 04:37 PM
Rare earth elements are difficult to produce. There is much involved in the separation of the elements. The production is very complicated. There are a few companies coming on-line in the near future, such as MolyCorp at Mountain Pass, Lynas in Australia and another in Russia. But, it takes time to get them up and running. Regulation is the killer, and if our gov't really wanted free trade, all they have to do is quit standing in the way. They don't have to punish China for encouraging their mining companies to develop rare earth facilities.
Posted by Silverado on 03/13/12 04:36 PM
I don't think it's that easy. There's 17 of these rare earth elements so some are bound to be more rare than others. That the author says these minerals are not rare, technically he's correct. However their occurrence in heavy enough concentrations where they can be profitably mined is VERY rare indeed. He mentions Molycorp's Mountain Pass project but fails to mention that this is primarily a light rare earth element mine and last I heard had little or no heavy rare earth elements. How a company can be a true source for "rare earths" with a "worldwide supply chain" is easier said than done, as we see with Molycorp. But until they have more of a selection of at least the most widely used rare earth elements with the heavies included, they obviously have some work to do and acquisitions to make. And long term, that's the opportunity in rare earths, I believe.