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The Origins of the Economic Crisis and China's Rare Earth Mineral Advantage



Lillian: This financial crisis began around 40 years ago as a result of new emerging technologies including satellites, computers, internet as well as container ships that allowed for quick delivery. With all the new technologies in transportation and communication, company managers realized they could make more money hiring foreign workers and paying then a fraction of what an American worker makes, while using a world communication network to manage their company branches to function as one efficient machine. 
 
Kathy: Right; technology is what gave birth to globalization, however advancements in robotics, computational capacity and software also contributed to the raise in the unemployment rate by automating work previously done by human beings.
 
Lillian: Nevertheless I think the new technology did us more harm than good by helping other countries like India and China gain an advantage. Recently I learned that China, which benefited greatly from globalization, controls 97 percent of the world supply of rare earth minerals which allows them to be more competitive and to have greater economic and political power over today’s world markets.
 
Kathy: Wow! I understand these minerals are necessary for the manufacturing of high tech products, especially those related to communications and the new Green Economy.  We need to find cheap easy accessible supplies of these minerals soon or we might become even more dependent on China.
 
Lillian: Right. I wonder what is going to happen to us, it seems that our corporate managers of today are more concerned with short term profits and are taking us in the wrong direction. Unfortunately they don't seem to be focused on accessing important basic resources, investing in long term research and development, investing in better technologies as well as developing a more powerful and advanced manufacturing capacity.
 
Kathy: I think at high management levels, in large or even small corporations are only concern with fast and hefty corporate earnings and not with loyalty to our country or its economic future.
 
Lillian: It seems that slowly but surely our value system has been weakened.
 
Kathy: We need to go back to our roots and work very hard, even if it means suppressing our short term goals in order to achieve the longer term ones.
Published Jan 05 2011, 02:51 PM by cartoon
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