Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Science fiction?

Has anybody else noticed that there's a copper shortage?
... it appeared someone tried to saw through a live wire to steal the copper inside at an Arizona Public Service Co. power substation in the 8000 block of North El Mirage Road. It occurred at 11:30 p.m. Saturday. According to reports, the wire generated 7,200 volts of electricity.

... metal theft is a widespread problem throughout the Valley, given the area's shortage of copper. In the past, criminals have stolen power units and water meters from businesses to trade them in for money at second-hand recyclers, he said.
If copper becomes scarce, how will electric current be delivered? If electricity becomes scarce, what will support the World Wide Web? TV? radio?

Maybe it's not such a great idea to aim for a future without print newspapers. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it because I'm reading too much ...

Or! Maybe someone is trying to scare us.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous lewlew said...

Yep. In our state, we've had wide spread theft of copper, along with steel. I featured a BWH article by Claire Wolfe in November that discussed a doable savings plan to implement. One of the things she suggested was to separate your coins and to hold on to the pennies and nickels. The metal they are made of is worth much more than their monetary denomination.

When we moved our shop over the summer, a metal collector nipped our steel counter panel for our cutter. Without it, the value of our cutter would have reduced by a third. Luckily, we were able to put out enough signals someone got a hold of him and he retrieved it from the place he sold it. It was waiting for us the next day. I don't know what was said, but we're so thankful it was returned.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous kyfho said...

Pennies haven't been 95% copper since 1982, they're 97.5% zinc now. So you have to sort by year.

BWR, this is just another example of Gresham's Law which as commonly stated is "Bad money drives out good." Given two coins wih the same face value, the one with te higher intrinsic value will drop out of circulation. People will hoard it.

Copper used to be cheap enough that it could be used for common industrial purposes withoout it disappearing. But with the decline of the purchasing power of the FRN, industrial copper becomes a "bullion" if you will. People will take it from anywhere to exchange for FRNs.

No real shortage, it just disappears as industrial objects to be sold on the market, black or otherwise.

-k

1:45 PM  

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