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The Last Fight, 5: Depletion of reserves


Many of us are familiar with the idea that reserves of raw materials are limited; in France and the UK, the coal that allowed the early start in the industrial race is long gone, and oil will probably be scarce by 2050. This is true of many raw materials: metals, rare earths, even construction sand will no longer be as freely available as they are now. None of these materials will disappear overnight; we will merely see less and less places suitable for mining, with ores proving less and less fruitful, as the best mines will be depleted first. Slowly, it will all translate into higher prices, including in some cases diplomatic and/or military costs.

When most oil is gone, there will be no market disruption, as we know how to make all kinds of fuels from natural gas or coal; still, this will raise the price some more. All these additional costs will be small, but the sum of all of them will be enough to erode the global buying power of humanity. Human economy is uneasy with weakening buying power, albeit a slow one.

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