Is the lithium shortage really this bad?

Elon Musk has taken it all so there’s none left for mental treatments?

What that means is that when these appeals happen, as surely they will, what will really be on trial will be goibalisation itself. Globalisation is the market based expression of the ideology of the Washington Consensus. It was always intended to favour a few, increase inequality, buy favour wherever it could find it, capture legislatures for its own purposes when that was necessary and create spaces veiled in secrecy where the rule of law that applied to the little people could be circumvented by the few. This is precisely why tax havens had to exist: they are not an accident in their modern form. They are instead a deliberate part of a design.

That’s right, we all conspired to increase inequality and nick all the dosh for the rich by engineering the largest reduction in absolute poverty in the history of the species.

26 thoughts on “Is the lithium shortage really this bad?”

  1. Give it a few weeks, he’ll be bitching that the producer countries aren’t taxing enough now that demand/prices/volumes have gone up.

  2. My own theory is that Mrs Murphy, the part time on long term sick leave GP, has become so affected mentally by the increasingly deranged behaviour of her husband, that she has decided to self-medicate using the drugs prescribed for her husband’s obvious psychopathic mental conditions and filling up his medicine bottles with placebos that don’t work.

  3. Wow! He seems to be sufffering from something close to schizophrenia. Does he imagine that electric circuits are talking to him?

  4. Isn’t he always complaining that people at the bottom of the tree in the UK should be wealthier, regardless of the fact they are already in the top 10% of global incomes? He’s demanding the richest (in global terms) become richer, at the expense of the other 90%.

  5. No, there are just some levels of breakdown that aren’t readily treatable. Although BraveFart’s hypothesis also has some merit (although most GPs I know retain the odd prescription pad, even if they are ‘off sick’.)

  6. During our recent 25 hour power outage I was talking with a group of neighbors. As I was relaying my findings on the costs and benefits of solar with battery backup* one man brought up the ‘lithium shortage’. Thanks to a series of articles I read on ElReg about rare earths I was able to quickly refute the idea of a shortage and convince the entire group why there isn’t a problem. Many bookmarked the first article on their smartphone and, as long as they read them, the local economic literacy should grow immensely. I just hope the author of that work gets residual payments each time they are read similar to how actors will get a small check each time a movie is re-aired.

    * Solar is completely pointless where I live at the current cost. To make a useful system it has to be paired with a battery. Our main energy usage is in the winter when the sun rarely appears. When the government removes net metering regulations I expect that a solar/battery system will average around $30 a month in useful savings given my available roof space. For someone, like Gamecock, in the south solar may be a good alternative to a gas backup generator however.

  7. Sadly, there are no residuals from that source. Forbes does pay residuals….

    On the other hand the gig at The Register was peachy. A piece like that was £300 flat fee. Took 2 hours tops to write. They wanted two a week every week for over a year (actually, one short and one long, so £450 a week). In freelance writing terms that’s an absolute dream job. Any subject I wanted, any viewpoint, 4 hours a week and £1800 a month? Sadly there was the regime change…..

  8. Attended a funeral in Blighty today. Driving down the motorway, I saw the turnoff to Ely and was just wondering why that sounded familiar, when the BBC2 host announced “Richard Murphy” to debate if the UK should offer Apple a sweetheart deal. He was getting an arise kicking by the pro deal guest when my wife told me to find some music as Murphy was annoying her

  9. Does The Register have exclusive rights to those articles or can they be republished?

    I know I sound like a suck up but I learned far more about economics from those pieces than I did from my college courses. I paid thousands for college and got Murphy level knowledge while the free(to me) articles lead me to understand how the world actually works. With my new knowledge there is no way I can justify sharing information I value so greatly without you seeing a reward as well. The counter is that I have no problem(other than it being wrong) Murphy level knowledge for free as that is what it is worth.

  10. The pieces belong to me. So, I could republish them elsewhere. But seriously, the sales wouldn’t be worth the cost of collecting them into an e-book.

  11. Since it isn’t worth your time then I’ll continue to use ElReg. Improving economic literacy has benefits that can’t be easily monetized but it is still a worthy goal. Maybe one day enough people will use those pieces as a source that a book would be profitable.

  12. @Tim Worstall, August 31, 2016 at 5:31 pm
    “…. the gig at The Register was peachy. …. They wanted two a week every week for over a year (actually, one short and one long). … Any subject I wanted, any viewpoint,… Sadly there was the regime change…..”

    Or coup as I refer to it.

    I’m glad they introduced me to you. Like LY, I have learned more about real-world economics from you than I did on an MBA

    Our best economics “lecturer” was a fellow student (iirc Standford Econ graduate) who voluntarily ran lecture/tutorials for anyone interested – thanks Craig.

    ElReg were crazy to terminate you. The views were high, – based on comment numbers. Commentards had lively intelligent discussion & debate which you kindly participated in.

    My conclusion is that like LY, a lot of people were grateful and enjoyed learning more about Economics from an author who wrote in a friendly easy to understand manner.

    The public deserves to see your “informative ramblings” on more non MSM sites, be they IT, Health, or whatever sites.

    Aerospace & Automotive would probably be a good start.

    @Liberal Yank

    +1 on both your posts

  13. We had a specific environment there. Largely engineers, so people who like to know how things work, but also largely engineers, who tend to not know how economics works. Because, you know, people are odd.

    To a great extent planned economies are how “engineers” think people work. And they don’t because we don’t.

    It really was a great gig financially and most fun to do as well. But I fear not one of those things that’s likely to get repeated.

  14. I did go to an engineering school so perhaps that is why the only thing they bothered with was how to get money from VC. It would be interesting to know how my life would have turned out if I had gotten into Chicago instead of Carnegie Mellon.

  15. “For someone, like Gamecock, in the south solar may be a good alternative to a gas backup generator however.”

    Nah…solar panels just don’t produce enough power to be useful in a power outage situation. A $300 gas generator puts out enough to power the minimum essentials of civilized life – fridge, microwave, lights, fan, space heater, etc. A $300 solar generator might put out enough power to keep your phone charged.

  16. JerryC,

    To clarify I was referring to a larger scale installation of the type Solar City was trying to sell locally combined with batteries. For a couple weeks around the summer solstice, on the days when it doesn’t rain, I could produce just enough power to replace my consumption. Someone who lives further south and doesn’t have trees on the ridge line above could easily run their fridge during a power outage. Of course once net metering has been taken away by the state it is not cost effective. The gas generator is still the better choice for me.

  17. Bloke in Costa Rica

    So, let me get this straight: Murphy is claiming that lithium usage for batteries is so great that there’s not enough left over for pharmaceuticals? How much lithium is he on? Obviously it’s not enough. A Tesla car battery uses about 50kg of Li. The metal cost is a few percent of the cost of the battery. Lithium citrate has a molar mass of 210g of which 21g is the lithium. The daily dose is of the order of milligrams. It costs a few pence to maybe a dollar, and again the cost of the lithium is minute, evanescent even. We simply are not running out of lithium.

    What a twat. He’s basically innumerate.

  18. Err, no, I am claiming that Musk is using so much that it is disturbing the considerable supply needed to keep Murphy on the level.

    Or at least alluding to that in a vague jokey kinda way.

  19. Tim

    It would need considerable exploration efforts in Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia to find enough Lithium to keep Murphy anywhere approaching what most on here would consider sane I’d wager…..

  20. @BobRocket

    Thanks for the linky. Gottalotta reading to do.

    And thanks Tim. Your blog brings a little sunshine into my life.

  21. Bloke in Costa Rica

    It’s impossible to determine what nonsense Murphy is spouting on any given occasion so Poe’s Law is always in effect.

  22. @Tim Worstall, August 31, 2016 at 9:13 pm
    “We had a specific environment there. Largely engineers, so people who like to know how things work, but also largely engineers, who tend to not know how economics works. Because, you know, people are odd.

    To a great extent planned economies are how “engineers” think people work. And they don’t because we don’t.

    It really was a great gig … and most fun to do .. well. But I fear not one of those things that’s likely to get repeated.

    Not be repeated? You don’t want to or not found a site that in another sector as receptive as ElReg used to be?

    Engineers: hence Aerospace & Automotive would probably be a good start. Add Motorsport & Defense/Military.

    Engineers: lol, my first post-grad job title was “Information Engineer” from TI/JM IEF

    “planned economies are how “engineers” think people work” – not sure about that claim. I’ve never believed planned economies are good and I don’t know anyone who does.

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