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Scientific paper


Sold Futures? The Global Availability of Metals and Economic Growth at the Peripheries: Distribution and Regulation in a Degrowth Perspective

Andreas Exner, Christian Lauk, Werner Zittel

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Scientific paper

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In recent years, the strategic role certain metals play is seen as central to the
geopolitics promulgated by state agents in the North. While a switch to renewable energy
and an increase in energy efficiency might be instrumental to reducing dependence on
fossil energy, it increases dependence on metals. This paper starts from an analysis of
the likely availability of metals in the near future and then proceeds to investigate political
concerns raised by considering the geological fundamentals of social development at the
peripheries of the capitalist world-system. The inequality of metal stocks, future metal
requirements and the ensuing political challenges are investigated, taking copper as an
example. The final section is dedicated to the discussion of regulatory challenges in view
of multiple constraints on metal extraction. This section also highlights the preconditions
of a socially legitimate transition to a renewable energy system in the coming period of
socio-ecological transformation.

Authors keywords: crisis, resources, peak, copper, development

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