Economics 101 test

Just to see if you’re been paying attention:

American scientists have said that the body, probably once the core of a planet, contains iron worth £8,000 quadrillion. A quadrillion is one followed by 15 zeros. Shared among the world’s nearly eight billion people, this would amount to about £1 billion each.

What happens to the price if we increase supply that much?

21 thoughts on “Economics 101 test”

  1. and the Potato formerly known as Professor’s head would explode at the thought of all those billionaires from whom he could extort squillions in tax.

  2. Other questions that arise: –

    How much will it cost to extract the iron?
    Where will we store it?
    WTF would we use it for?

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    On a similar theme I heard someone complaining that whenever a profession become gender balanced (by which they meant roughly 50/50 men and women) wages fall. This, apparently, was another example of sexism and the patriarchy.

  4. And tech giant founders net worth is shares of stock times current price. If they started selling large quantities, the price would drop sharply. Hence, their net worth is purely theoretical, not practical.

  5. A quick look at the figures suggests that 16 Psyche contains enough iron to supply us for about 10 million years at current production rates. The UK government would undoubtedly come up with a plan to bail out British Steel(*) if this happened.

    (*) Or whatever it’s called nowadays.

  6. Speaking of Unherd and Economic 101…

    This gem: ‘The trouble is that rationing by price, which works well in normal circumstances, stops working when the common good is best served by an even distribution of scarce goods across the population — especially those required to fight the spread of disease.’

    Plenty to pick at, but a couple or so points…

    In ‘normal circumstance’ why would ‘rationing by price’ be needed?

    Aren’t all goods scarce? Isn’t scarcity the pre-requisite for a market economy to work?

    Wouldn’t ‘even distribution’ result in some not getting enough, some getting too much then a Black Market?


  7. off topic but on the topic of snowflakes, feminism and free speech…..

    The UNWomen Oxford UK Society at Oxford University asked former Home Secretary Amber Rudd to speak at a meeting;

    “to help campaign for a truly frank feminism which is not afraid of taking opportunities to discuss issues with high profile figures”.

    30 minutes before she was due to speak they announced;

    “Following a majority vote in committee, tonight’s event with speaker Amber Rudd has been cancelled.”

    Frank feminism not afraid to discuss…

  8. Presidential debate, 1980:

    Jimmy Carter: “Only government can manage scarcity fairly.”

    Ronald Reagan: “Screw that! We’re America; we’ll just make more!”

  9. I don’t give a rats arse how much iron it contains (or the value). How – in our promised “Zero Carbon” future – will it be converted into usable steel? Don’t pretend that smelters can make use of surplus “Renewable Energy” – they have to be kept up to temperature 24/7. In any case, doesn’t the process involve coke (a.k.a. the evil Carbon)?

  10. @Arthur the Cat

    Just as well British Steel aren’t still called Corus

    @Andrew C



    I can see Biden/Sanders and Trump saying same

    btw taking off in Aus: MAGA – M Australia GA

  11. The trouble is that the image of Capt Potato ejaculating over his bogroll ration book cannot be erased from my mind… “all that bogroll for me!!!!!” he shouts triumphantly

  12. It could be made into space stations.

    However the deep Greens would complain about capitalists despoiling “pristine” asteroids.

    Nothing of any size can live in the centre of Antarctica. Yet we don’t mine that to “protect the environment”.

  13. One assumes that if the bog roll crisis becomes truly serious, some will wash their arses like the Mahometans.

  14. The iron in the asteroid is valueless. However, there are probably metals in a fairly pure state which are a) valuable b) scarce or c) found only in dodgy places like the Congo and d) difficult, polluting or expensive to refine on earth.

  15. Oh….. Do we have a nuclear-powered, zero-gravity steel factory stashed away in space somewhere I don’t know of?

    Because if we don’t, all that iron + other stuff is about as worthless as the very metal that makes up the Earth’s core…

  16. Good point, Grikath. Obtaining from earth’s core might be easier – cheaper – than from asteroid. Plus all that nickel.

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