Dr. Alex King director of the Critical Materials Institute at Ames Lab presents the view that having one unreliable source of rare earth materials leaves manufacturers and society vulnerable to shortages and price instability. He presents economic data and historical pricing for rare earths as well as other materials.
Looking at the cell phone of 40 years ago and the modern smart phone he makes the case that the smartphone is composed of 60 chemical elements, and a shortage of any one could disrupt production. He compares the modern availability of rare earth materials with the stone age, copper age, bronze age, and iron age. He offers a parallel between those times and present. Watch the 18 minute TEDx Des video, The Dawn of the Age of Critical Materials. Or watch below.