Your smart phone is on the fritz and needs to be replaced. It’s given you service for a good, long time, thankfully. You walk into your favorite cell phone service center as you have numerous times in the past.
But strangely, the shelves are practically bare. They certainly don’t have your particular model available. The customer service rep tells you it’s like this everywhere now.
You wonder what’s happening. You’ve heard of shortages of groceries when a hurricane or winter storm is on the way, but a shortage of cell phones? How can it be?
The cell phone rep says it all started back in 2010 when China put clamps on the export of rare earth elements—those 17 rare metals used in the manufacture of cell phones, iPods, flat screen TV’s, electric car batteries and more. Even missile guidance systems and satellites can’t function without them.
The rep tells you China controlled 90% of the supply of rare earth elements, but nobody cared. If the technology didn’t come from China, you couldn’t get it, and the Chinese weren’t selling. He went on to say that, just as some predicted, this had its impact on national security and the country was now practically defenseless.
He further tells you that the media didn’t say anything about all of this because they wanted to bolster their portrayal of ever increasing good times for all. In reality America and Western civilization were in the throws of a slow, agonizing death.
Everybody thought technology would cease to work due to a solar flare or nuclear attack high in the atmosphere. They didn’t see this coming.
You’re thinking this guy’s some sort of conspiracy nut. But then there are those empty shelves. And didn’t your sister say it was impossible for her husband to get the new TV they’ve always wanted because the big box stores had no more TV’s?
Come to think of it, what about that ridiculously long line at the supermarket earlier today, all because only one of 24 cash registers was working?
What’s more, while you were waiting in line, didn’t you see a tabloid headline boldly proclaiming that a low tech society was just around the corner?
But then who believes that stuff anyway?
Besides, you’ve got bigger problems at the moment. You left the cell phone store to discover your electric car’s battery has died, leaving you stranded, and you have no way to call for a tow truck.
You just never know what’s going to bring things down…