The madness of strategic desk ornaments

Strategic. Seriously.

The metal called Tungsten is “one of the more rare elements”. Tungsten is strategic, and considered by the EU “one of the highest supply risks of all materials on the list”.

The world has been “running out of tungsten, and you should care”, since at least 2012. China domination “makes tungsten critical” (2020). Eight months ago, the global tungsten market was “in flux on supply chain woes”. Three weeks ago, “rising demand, low supply fueled EU tungsten price rally”.

Thanks heaven, there is Amazon

I really don’t understand why countries are so worried about tungsten, when they could just buy it online:

The madness of strategic desk ornaments /img/tungsten-on-amazon.jpg

I discovered this by reading about the guy who bought one of those cubes as desk ornament. Now, I have nothing to say against that person. He only is the intermediary who made me discover something I can’t understand.

This post is only about the fact itself that a metal strategic for vital applications, in “rising demand, low supply”… is also available as (from that Amazon page) “beautiful desk toy” and “great conversation piece”, at “aerospace grade”. I almost hope that that is a scam, that those cubes are not made of tungsten.

Yes, I am probably naive here. Yes, I am aware that this is basically the same thing that happens with gold and silver. But those are metals deeply welded in our collective psyche and economy for so many centuries before when they started having strategic applications that it would be impossible to limit them to industry.

With tungsten, instead, the opposite is true. Selling it as a toy really seems to me an absurdity that should not happen. Not in the most polluting way at least. And generally, not in this time of increasing scarcity of raw materials, and all the geopolitical tension and pollution that come with it. “Free markets” are one thing. This seems more “stupid markets”, or more exactly “stupid regulators” to me.