The question of how rare earth supplies affect security greatly hinges on how the meaning of security is perceived. In a very straightforward way, the scarcity of rare earths is often represented by government, industry, and media as a threat to security inasmuch as many examples of contemporary production rely upon these materials. Technologically advanced consumer goods, as well as military equipment, integrate rare earths, many of which have no known substitute at present. Consequently, threats to the supply chain of rare earth elements are also apparently threats to those technologically advanced consumer goods and the military that defends them. But threats to the supply of advanced consumer goods, and the military that defends them, may not actually be the worst of all possible fears. Rather, a continued supply of rare earths may perpetuate a far more fundamental and pervasive source of insecurity — late capitalism.
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